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System gives edge to big employers

September 27, 2009

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column "Everyone into a healthcare pool," Sept. 20:

Employers should be proscribed from offering health insurance as a benefit, period.

It's a competitive edge for larger companies and is snuffing very badly needed innovation in many industries.

The right wing in this country claims to be "pro-small business," yet in this significant way, it sides with big business against the small guy.

Bob Hillman

Thousand Oaks

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Apparently David Lazarus does not let facts get in the way when there is a (misguided) point he wants to make.

Lazarus says employees are getting the short end of the stick because their cost for health insurance premiums has increased 128% over the last decade. Meanwhile, employers' costs have increased 132%, yet they somehow are making out on the deal.

Gerry Swider

Sherman Oaks

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Lazarus bemoans the "fact" that workers are bearing increasing percentages of their healthcare costs.

Using Mr. Lazarus' numbers: Over the last decade, average healthcare premiums for a U.S. family have gone from $5,791 to $13,375 and the portion borne by the employee has gone from $1,543 to $3,515.

Most fifth graders could explain that a decade ago employees bore 26.6% of their premiums and now they bear 26.3% of their premiums.

It would be nice if Mr. Lazarus would present some real solutions instead of pounding the podium of socialism.

Martin Ehrlich

Glendale

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I support the goal of universal coverage and believe a government option is the most economical way to achieve it. But I am against the plans being considered because of their employer mandate.

I am starting up a small business and in a few years could have more than 50 employees. However, the typical pay will be about $10 an hour, and most will be part time.

What scares me is having to spend $5,000 to $6,000 a year on health insurance for a full-time worker making $20,000 a year. Doing that for part-timers would be even more ruinous.

Expecting employers in lower-wage industries to shoulder the same burden as companies that pay workers $100,000 a year isn't fair or feasible.

Drew Davis

Redondo Beach

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