Reprinted from The Courier-Journal – 05/06/2019
USA TODAY NETWORK
Metro budget – health insurance
With a population approaching 772,000, Louisville/Jefferson County is roughly the same size as Winnipeg, Canada; Frankfurt, Germany; and Marseilles, France. Each of these cities has a budget covering operations, economic development, urban renewal, housing, etc., but only Louisville expects to pay over $50 million during the 2019-20 budget year to provide health insurance for city employees and retirees. Most of that sum will go to HUMANA, a private company that paid its CEO $16.3 million in compensation in 2018. This coming year, Metro workers facing stagnant wages can expect health plan premiums and deductibles to rise.
Municipalities large and small across the U.S. are held hostage by the costs of health insurance. Why are we locked into this foolish and inequitable system? In other advanced nations, cities do not go broke, cut police services, close recreational facilities to pay for health care. Why? Because their national government has done the math and set up a single-payer plan to cover every resident. All taxpayers participate, sharing risk and cost; for-profit insurers are heavily regulated, or not allowed.
I call on the voters and elected leaders of our community (whatever your party affiliation) to study the cost-effectiveness of single payer. We may not be able to fix this year’s city budget, but surely future budgets will reflect the fiscal common sense of running a city within a single-payer system.