There’s some talk that the Republicans aren’t done with healthcare, and I don’t blame them for taking a stab at the Affordable Care Act.
Right now, private premiums are daunting for many families. I have friends who left the freelance world for “real jobs,” and they did it solely for affordable healthcare. And whenever I talk to technical or creative talent, one of the first things they talk about is how the cost of healthcare is getting in the way of their entrepreneurial dreams.
Healthcare is a mess for many people because the job is left undone. We know that consistency breeds efficiency, and yet there isn’t a single public health plan in America. The federal government could provide universal access to Medicaid, but, instead, citizens are at the mercy of petulant politicians who don’t believe that government has any role in healthcare except to interpret the Bible and tell women what to do with their bodies.
(tl;dr Because there isn’t a single plan with adequate standards of care, and because Mike Pence is the American Taliban, people suffer.)
And, by the way, a single American healthcare plan could be awesome. We’re a creative country. We made Facebook and ice cream sundaes. I’m pretty sure we could make healthcare great again and offer inclusive coverage. Don’t want an abortion? Don’t get one. Don’t want birth control? Skip it. Don’t want to vaccinate your kids? Well, yeah, fuck you. Vaccinate your kids.
But you know what? Some private health insurance coverage is amazing because American companies know it’s hard to find good people. And, here’s a spoiler alert, there are smart and savvy HR ladies & dudes who are doing cool things to keep expenses down and offer comprehensive coverage.
For example, many of my HR friends have implemented programs to help people quit smoking, lose weight, eat right, get enough sleep, meditate, and get some balance in the work environment so that you’re not sick all of the time. They openly encourage women to take care of their healthcare needs, and they’re asking men to pay attention to silent killers like stress and depression.
My HR friends do it all. They bring in healthcare providers to administer flu shots to keep the costs down, they run weight loss clinics in conference rooms, and they offer fantastic discounts to local gyms — the nice ones, not the sketchy one next to the auto dealership that smells like socks.
HR professionals have been largely silent during the healthcare debate. That needs to end now. If you’re doing something cool to expand coverage at your company to keep the costs down, we need to hear your voice.
Tell your story. Write a letter to the newspaper. Speak at HR events. Speak at non-HR events. Tell job seekers about your approach to healthcare. Ask new hires to sing your praises. Tell a blogger so she can feature you. If you’re saving money and improving healthcare outcomes at your company, the world needs to know. Share your ideas and your success stories, and help make the Affordable Care Act even better.
For once, America needs HR now more than ever. HR has remained silent on the healthcare debate, and that needs to end right away.