October 30, 2013 (San Diego) Well, imagine getting a cold, a real bad cold, and you are blue collar. Chances are, since you are blue collar, that you simply cannot call in sick and let your employer know that well, you are too sick to work. Instead you need a note from mom, err your doctor.
So what does this mean?
First there is a copay workers have to pay to see the doctor. Then the doctor has to bill your insurance company for a perfectly non necessary medical visit.
Second: This does wonders for worker morale. I mean, they are shiftless and cannot be trusted to even know when they are sick and should not go to work.
Now if you happen to be white collar, this probably does not apply to you. Many white collar jobs require you to still call in, but until the FMLA kicks in, you really do not need a note from the doctor. You can take those three days. So imagine for a moment if you had to. You need to get out of bed, get in a car, hopefully somebody else will drive you, take you to the doctor, pay a copay and have a perfectly unnecessary visit billed because you are not trustworthy.
As a worker advocate I have a problem with this message, that our workers are children.
But, some will abuse this and call in sick ALL THE TIME!!!! True, but that some is a really a very small minority. It also tracks perfectly well with people who cannot keep jobs. So that is the kind of slippery slope people use to justify stupid policies that are indeed raising our costs unnecessarily. They are also leading to people going to work, even when they should stay home.
Granted, given the history of labor in the US this does not at all surprise any labor advocate. Workers are seen by management as fungible assets, to be disposed off and never trusted. It is one thing in the culture that now is actually costing us quite a bit of money.
With the reforms brought by the ACA I do sincerely hope the medical system finally puts a stop to this unnecessary visit as a way to control costs. Of course this requires the cooperation of industry. That will be the prickly part.