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Food for Thought: Healthcare

France, and particularly Paris, may often be remembered for its culinary contributions but it’s also a great contributor to brain food. A comment from Dennis about the current issues at the heart of the recent protests – job security – is a timely issue on both sides of the pond.

Case in point. Thomas has been mowing lawns at the local cemetery for twenty years. Today Thomas told us that he and his foreman have both been ‘let go’ after twenty years of service (downsizing). Which means that he no longer has a company paid insurance policy. After he has been ‘let go’ any new employees will be hired with a different health insurance policy which will no longer cover spouses and children.

When he was let go on December 5th, he had a two week paid vacation coming to him – instead the company gave him month’s severance pay which they said would cover the two week paid vacation. When he tried to encourage his foreman to at least get out of town to get his mind off of being unemployed (after twenty years of service) – ‘let’s go to Washington D. C. and see the Smithsonian at least’ his friend said, “if I go anywhere I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy a trip knowing that i’m unemployed.’

Recently a letter writer to USA Today suggested that Americans should not ‘scoff’ at French protests suggesting that US companies forced to compete in the world market can no longer give the health coverage that they have in the past. (The reader insinuated that employees must be ready to make the sacrifice if we want to have a healthy economy, big profitable businesses, etc.) But the biggest gig in town is healthcare.

I wish that reader had taken the question one step farther: WHY have medical costs spiraled out of control to the point that NO ONE wants to foot the bill: Not corporations, not government?
Once you’ve put in your twenty years of service, you are no better than a used car with too much mileage. That’s the message loud and clear.

You may be thinking what does this have to do with Paris? Paris is the city of light and illumination so hopefully some light bulbs will be going off in people’s heads.

If the people who made laws regarding health care had to pay their own health insurance, you can bet that people wouldn’t be losing jobs over these issues.

I promise the next entry will be will NOT be about student protests – it will be about riding bicycles with a veteran of ’68. (Keep on truckin’!)