How Obamacare Shows the Employment System isn’t Working

About a third of the people who are getting the most benefit from Obamacare are between 18 and 34. That’s a good thing from the point of insurers; it’s the demographic least likely to need major healthcare so payments from that group support insurance for demographics more likely to need care.

But it’s also an interesting number, in light of the changes to insurance laws that let younger people stay on their parents’ insurance for longer. That 18-to-35 demographic tends to be uninsured or underinsured, as well as unemployed or underemployed (which might be a direct cause of that not-having-health-insurance thing).

That number clearly indicates that the systems we expected to provide health insurance to people just joining the work force were clearly not working. There aren’t hard and fast numbers on underemployment, but the guesstimates out there imply similar problems with employment in general. The reality that we’re dealing with is that nature of how we structure work is changing.

But the way we view finding work and income hasn’t changed quite as quickly. Our economy needs fewer employees dedicated to handling a single company’s needs. Every industry needs fewer people to handle the available workload than it did a century ago (aside from those industries that didn’t exist a century ago). We’re only going to see more freelancers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs in the future, as the economy rebalances how work is handled.

The faster that we can recognize that tying anything other than cash payments to the company we happen to be working for this week won’t work in the long-term, the faster we can accommodate independent work efficiently.

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