The Cable Industry's a La Carte Bait and Switch
from TFA: "At around $4 a subscriber, ESPN is the most expensive channel in the cable business"
I would pay $5 for just ESPN and the online ESPN content that you can't get now without spending $50+/month. You can deliver it online, there is no reason to have $20/mo "capital costs and maintenance" for one company's dedicated cable running to everyone's house just for TV when the internet is already there.
I'm sure they really won't let people choose just the channels they want without first buying a package of basic crap that is available online or OTA for free and that few people really want. I'm not going to pay $50/month now to get ESPN, and I'm not going to pay $25/month for ESPN in some pseudo-a-la-carte plan either.
Health Insurance When Leaving the Corporate World?
Despite all the scare mongering, if you are reasonably healthy you can probably get a a high deductible plan for a few hundred dollars a month. I started my own business 6 years ago and have had my own insurance through two different providers. Things are different from state to state, but I used this site:
to compare and get some basic quotes.
I have a $10000 deductible policy that costs just over $100/mo for me and my wife. We were able to get health insurance for our newborn through a state program and that has a very low deductible and that costs a little over $100/mo. In Wisconsin no matter how much money you make kids under age 18 can get some sort of care for reasonable cost. If we weren't in Wisconsin we'd probably be on a $300/mo plan for all three of us with a $2000 deductible, which is still pretty cheap in my opinion. If your health is one of the most valuable things in your life, it makes sense to me that you should be prepared to spend a corresponding amount of your money on it. I dread the prospect of it becoming "free" in the US.
If you don't have enough money in the bank to cover a few worst case years of $2k-10k medical bills, you probably shouldn't be leaving your corporate job. Make sure you get your new coverage started BEFORE you leave your current job, COBRA is very expensive and in my opinion is a last resort to avoid coverage gaps.
US House Democrats Unveil a Health Care Plan
The health insurance situation in the US can be vastly improved with one simple change:
Make it ILLEGAL for any group (usually employers) to get preferential pricing from health insurance companies. Insurance should cost the same for any two people in the same situation, including taxes. I have my own business so I have to pay a lot more for health insurance. I know companies pay part of employees premiums, but the total of employer contribution plus employee contribution plus taxes is a lot less than it is for people who are self employed or work for a small business.
This one simple change:
1. makes health insurance companies compete - people will shop around instead of just getting a provider chosen for you by your employer.
2. makes everyone realize what they are really paying for heath care. When things come out of a paycheck like taxes, people seem to accept it more than if they had to write out a check for it each month. If people realized how expensive it is they would be outraged and more likely to shop around or get involved politically. Most people don't need the low deductible, cover-everything plans some of employers offer at low costs - they would probably lower their coverage if paying for it out of pocket. Anytime people aren't paying with their own money costs skyrocket (just ask politicians). "Oh look, he has good insurance, let's run this test and this treatment too, your insurance will cover it"
The issues of pre-existing conditions and people who can't afford any form of health insurance are different. If you let anyone get medical treatment without paying, and cover pre-existing conditions, then you are no longer talking about INSURANCE which is a hedge against unforeseen problems. Then you are talking about government-run health CARE, which would likely be the end of the private health insurance industry as we know it. Whether or not that a good thing is an a different argument, but with all of their lobbyists I don't see it happening anytime soon, so let's start by fixing health insurance, and go from there.
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