When I started a ranch in Buffalo, we could attract talented people because we could offer health insurance at a reasonable rate. At that time, in the late 80s, maternity coverage was affordable and it covered most of the cost of having a baby. That same coverage today is vastly more expensive and doesn't even really cover the price of a standard delivery. On the ranch over the past several years we have tried to keep our insurance costs low, the policies portable, and do the best we could for our employees. We have had to migrate from group to individual to company paid (both my wife and I have worked for other companies) policies. We and our crew have all tried hard to stay healthy and have participated in preventative care only to see our premiums rise and our coverage diminish. What was a wonderful benefit has become more simply coverage for calamity. What we offered as a perk has become a financial drain.
To keep small businesses in Wyoming on Main Street and make sure others open we have to address the rising cost of health care. This can be done by allowing individuals to deduct the cost of health insurance from their federal income taxes. Larger corporations already do this and small business owners must be able to benefit as well. We should allow businesses and individuals to pool across state lines to lower overall costs. There are other opportunities to lower costs and make sure health care is accessible and affordable, but each of these will require careful consideration. The solution does not lie in a single payer system or nationalized health care. Competition and personal responsibility must be part of the solution.
In Wyoming about 75,000 people do not have health insurance and that increases costs for all of us. Universal health care is not the answer because federal bureaucracies have shown they can't be trusted with something as valuable as our health.
We must encourage wellness, reform government entitlements, and make sure the front door of our health care system is not the emergency room.