Unintended Consequences


Myself, like the rest of Saint Louis spent part of Wednesday morning basking in the afterglow of Tuesday night’s All Star Game.  The hometown league couldn’t bring home a victory, but the spectacle of the event and the favorable light with which Saint Louis was shown more then made up for that.  Tuesday’s later then usual night combined with a dawn thunderstorm made for slow going on Wednesday.

Continuing with the baseball theme, here is one more item.  This story appeals to my inner Geek.  It is drawn from this New York Times article.  Almost from its inception, baseball has been a game of statistics, but almost all of these statistics quantify the offensive portion of the game.  A new computer imaging system, that is being tested in San Francisco, will generate the data on fielding that can be turned into statistics and quantify the defensive performance of a player that to date has only been antidotal.

Finally, let’s get to the subject of this rambling post’s title, unexpected consequences.  A lot of the news coming out of Washington these days is dealing with healthcare reform.  Personally, I’m all for reform.  I am also pleased to have a Cadillac of an insurance policy.  I worked with the health insurance industry (1999-2001) and saw some of the crap out there that passes as employer based health insurance. 

The interesting thing about employer based health insurance is that it was a benefit that became prevalent during World War Two.  During the war, government wage and prices controls combined with a scarcity of skilled labor, left employers scrambling to find workers.  Unable to bid for workers on salary, companies used benefits like health insurance instead.

So let’s say Congress passes affordable healthcare this year.  I think that an unexpected consequence of this act will be a reduction in unemployment.  In my shop and in many others, health insurance is still a benefit, but retiree health insurance is not.  If universal health insurance becomes a reality then people otherwise eligible for retirement could retire.  This exodus of more highly compensated employees would make room for younger employees.  President Obama has said that health insurance reform is one of his tenets of economic reform.  He could be right.

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