Thursday, October 07, 2004
On this day:

Big-Boned Nicotine-Loving Teachers Beware

Health insurance costs in Alabama are skyrocketing, forcing employers, including the state, to make some tough decisions. The cost to state government of insuring its employees has risen 37% over the last 2 years. To address this problem, Governor Riley appointed a task force earlier in the year to consider ways to bring these expenses under control. That task force's recommendations have just been endorsed by the board overseeing teachers' health insurance, and boards for other state employees and retirees are also being asked for their endorsements. Among the measures the task force proposed are to allow premiums to be increased on obese people and smokers employed by the state. Other recommendations are to offer supplemental coverage to those who choose coverage under a spouse's insurance and to reduce coverage for those who retire after less than 25 years of state employment.

All of these measures seem like reasonable short-term solutions. However, they only begin to address the fundamental issues that have led to the explosion in health care costs in Alabama and nationwide. This article by economist Arnold Kling at TechCentralStation provides some insight into how we got into the current mess. He suggests some possible solutions here.