WHY DO EMPLOYERS PROVIDE HEALTH CARE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
In 2017, Americans spent $3.5 trillion on health care — a level nearly equal to the economic output of Germany, and twice as much as other wealthy countries spend per person, on average. Not only is this a problem for the people seeking care; it’s also a problem for the companies they work for. Currently, about half of Americans are insured through an employer, and in recent years companies have borne the financial brunt of rising costs. Frustrated, many employers have shifted the burden to workers, with average annual deductibles rising by more than 50% since 2013.
This isn’t sustainable for anyone. So it’s no wonder that firms like Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase, as well as Walmart, have embarked on efforts to re-envision health care for their employees. Warren Buffett has even gone so far as to argue that health care costs hamper economic competitiveness more than taxes do.