It started simply; my insurer didn't pay a claim, and I found out that it was a lactation consultation--yes, after four years, Mom and Dad do forget some tricks of the trade and find these tremendously helpful. At first, I was incredulous that they were unwilling to cover this, as back in 1997, a Kaiser Foundation study found that breastfeeding reduced first-year medical costs by $1500. OK, $200 for a lactation consultation versus $1500 in medical costs--OK, close to twice that today, most likely. ROI looks pretty good on that from my perspective, even if these consultations don't always make the difference between nursing and formula.
Then I considered what a nursing mother represents to many companies; a wife who will not be available to work and split insurance costs with her husband--my company requires spouses who can get coverage with their company to get their own coverage.
And so suddenly, it made sense. My company isn't seeing $1500 or $3000 in savings, but rather a $5000 cost as they need to insure not just employee and children, but rather employee, wife, and children--and a greater cost as they consider that when that employee gets tired of them, it's a lot easier to move to a new opportunity when one doesn't need to find a job for one's spouse, too.
So just like in Truman's time, employer paid health insurance is not a benefit, but is rather a "golden shackle" to make it more difficult for employees to demand better wages and working conditions. Perhaps it's time to equalize the tax status of employer paid health insurance and individually paid health insurance, and require employers who provide this