Thursday, July 05, 2007

Vetting the domestic partners proposal

A couple of points about the proposal for domestic partner benefits that is pending before the legislature.

1. We are told that the legislation is critical to retaining and attracting good employees (because there are presumably lots of people who need this), but reassured that it won't cost much money (because not many people need this). It's either one or the other.

The argument that it is needed because the state government or university might lose one or two exceptionally valuable employees who have a domestic partner that is otherwise uninsured (such, as presumably, this guy) is economically illiterate. If the problem is simply the absence of benefits (as opposed to, say, the desire to make a political statement on the way out after choosing to leave for other reasons)then the state ought to be willing to pay these incredibly valuable employees enough to permit them to pay for these benefits. If, for example, the only thing that caused Rob Carpick to take his 3.4 million dollars in grants to Penn was the absence of health insurance for his partner, it ought to have been a rather simple matter to increase his salary by the 10-20k that would have permitted him (after taxes) to purchase that insurance.

2. This article, at least, attributes the push for benefits to Fair Wisconsin's new political clout which presumably arises because, near as I can tell, it 1) "brought" lots of people to the polls who 2) voted against it's position on the amendment (brilliant!) but who 3)nevertheless voted for Democrats (the cross tabs I have seen on black and hispanic voters in the fall election are astonishing - they voted overwhelmingly for Democrats and for the marriage amendment) who must now, in response to these new voters, 4) ignore their likely preferences on this issue.

I like to think I am politically sophisticated but that doesn't parse for me.

As an aside, it strikes me as ironic if Fair Wisconsin has any "new political clout." Fair Wisconsin's performance on the marriage amendment is on the short list of epic chokes. We're talking the Colts loss in Super Bowl III or Georgetown's defeat by Villanova in the 1985 NCAA championship. They outspent the opposition by about a zillion to one and cornered virtually every political and editorial endorsement in the state. And they got squashed.

Moreover, they managed not only to lose, but to lose dirty, running one of the most deceptive and unethical campaigns in Wisconsin history. For gays and lesbians in Wisconsin, "not in my name" ought to have new meaning.

3. For me, the biggest problem with the Democrats' proposal is that it applies to straight couples. As I have blogged before, I believe that a case can be made for extending reciprocal benefit status to a series of relationships (not just sexual ones) in which two people are mutually dependent but ineligible to marry. That leaves heterosexual couples out and for good reason. Society has an interest in encouraging marriage in heterosexual relationships. Extending the benefits of marriage to straight couples who choose not to marry steps on that interest.

7 comments:

Dad29 said...

It would be interesting to have your take on the ACLU suit mentioned in the article.

Seth Zlotocha said...

I'm glad to see you'd support domestic partner benefits for mutually dependent couples who can't legally marry in Wisconsin. Since it's clear you're not a big fan of the case that's currently being made for those benefits, what case would you make? Your previous post lays out some guidelines for what you'd support, but it never gets into why you would support it.

Anonymous said...

"If, for example, the only thing that caused Rob Carpick to take his 3.4 million dollars in grants to Penn was the absence of health insurance for his partner, it ought to have been a rather simple matter to increase his salary by the 10-20k that would have permitted him (after taxes) to purchase that insurance."

This is an overly simplistic analysis. What if the partner is uninsurable? One of the benefits of being hired by an employer with health insurance is that you and your dependents are covered without being individually underwritten. For a person with a chronic health condition, insurers today will only take as part of a group. That's one of the major flaws in our current system.

What is Marquette University's policy? Does it provide domestic partner health insurance?

Remember that Wisconsin isn't competing with Marquette for professors and academic staff, it is competing with the other top public and private universities in the country.

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon 9:44

That thought ocurred to me as I posted and I agree that individual risk underwriting is problematic given that we do not think of health insurance in the same way that we think of auto or homeowners. My wife, for example, would probably be considered "uninsurable" in that sense because of a series of athletic injuries that predictably result in lots of orthopedic-type care. A rational insurer can predict that she is likely to incur claims that exceed customary premium charges.

But that just means that they'll charge her a lot. If I was worth 3.4 million dollars to my employer, they could afford to increase my salary quite a bit to cover that. There are a few people who are uninsurable at any price that can continue to be called insurance (say someone waiting for a heart transplant) but it's a small group.

But I don't think that the existence of uninsurable (In either sense of the word) and unemployed same-sex partners of state employees occurs with enough frequency to count very much in this argument. The phenomenom that you are referring to is a different problem that deserves its own solution.

As for Marquette, I don't think it does offer domestic partner benefits but I am not completely sure. I wonder how many Catholic universities do.

Anonymous said...

"A rational insurer can predict that she is likely to incur claims that exceed customary premium charges. But that just means that they'll charge her a lot. If I was worth 3.4 million dollars to my employer, they could afford to increase my salary quite a bit to cover that. There are a few people who are uninsurable at any price that can continue to be called insurance (say someone waiting for a heart transplant) but it's a small group.

You may know a little bit about business but it's painfully clear you know nothing about insurance. When an insurer deems an individual uninsurable, the insure DECLINES COVERAGE! When this occurs, there is NO PRICE at which the insurer is willing to write coverage!

"The phenomenom that you are referring to is a different problem that deserves its own solution."

Yes, and that's one of the issues that the Senate Democratic health plan would address -- no more indvidual underwriting for anyone who is employed. If you are an employed individual, you have access to a choice of plans where there is no individual underwriting.

Insurance changed over the last 40 years or so. In the old days, an employer stayed with one insurance company for years. The insurer, in turn, was concerned about the long-term health of the covered employees. In more recent times, coverage is bid out every year or so and no insurer cares about anything which occurs after the contract expires. Anything expense which can be delayed goes directly to the bottom line.

As workers age, a prime concern becomes staying employed -- and covered by a group plan with no individual underwriting.

How does this relate to domestic partner benefits? On the Madison campus (and other research universities), the goal is to lure the mid-career rising star (who can bring research $$$, or the potential for research $$$). It's the mid-career people who are more concerned about fringe benefits, including access to health insurance. They are much more likely to have spouses or partners for whom insurability is more of an issue.

Again, this isn't the job market in which Marquette competes, so you folks have an excuse for your ignorance.

VUONG said...

先物 比較
先物 比較
先物 比較
先物 比較
先物 比較
先物 比較
事業再生
経営計画書
経営改革
経営改善
会社分割
経営コンサルティング
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
お見合いパーティー 名古屋
浮気調査 浅草
浮気調査 市川
備考調査 追跡調査 東京
不倫調査 離婚調査 東京
浮気調査 素行調査 東京 
ストーカー相談 ストーカー対策 東京
結婚調査 結婚詐欺 東京
信用調査 企業調査 東京
調査料金 東京
身上調査 身元調査 身辺調査 東京
所在調査 東京
夫 妻 浮気 東京

VUONG said...

大規模修繕
大規模修繕
大規模修繕
大規模修繕
大規模修繕
大規模修繕
大規模修繕
大規模修繕
大規模修繕
大規模修繕
英会話 横浜
英語 メール
英語塾
社会人入試
toeic対策
ライムライト
紙箱
派遣 事務
パチンコ求人
販売管理
債務整理
任意整理
液晶テレビ 激安
先物 比較
先物 比較
先物 比較
先物 比較