Opinion » Note

Note December 31, 2008

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Here at BW headquarters, we're removing health insurance from the list of benefits full-time employees are eligible for after their obligatory 90-day waiting period. Nope, budget cuts haven't forced the publisher to yank our health insurance. And the next time one of us decides it's a great idea to hookiebob behind a mountain bike down Capitol Boulevard, we'll be fully covered in the event that our little sledding adventure turns into a split-noggin trip to the ER.

See, we're not getting rid of our health insurance coverage, we're just removing it from under the heading "benefit" and relocating to a column under the heading "ways small businesses and their employees get screwed."

Every year we're forced to re-negotiate our health-care plan. Every year the costs go up for our employer and for us individually. With employees aged 23 to 73, some of whom have lifelong conditions that require expensive medication, BW's situation may sound particularly challenging. But it's not.

In mid-December a group of small business owners got together at Goody's in Hyde Park to talk about the challenges they face providing health care and to announce the formation of a statewide coalition for reform. The attendance was overwhelming.

In the wake of an election year heavily focused on health-care reform, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden aren't waiting until Jan. 21 to address the health-care issues millions of Americans now face. They've gone public to ask for "health care reform that comes from the ground up."

Together with Sen. Tom Daschle, who was recently appointed secretary of Health and Human Services, the "almost in" administration is asking Americans to sign up to host health care community discussions. They provide the moderator's guide, you do all the talking.

Inspired by this "let's get together and chat about our health-care woes" idea, BW is putting together its own discussion. We have a couple of complaints about our health-care coverage and we bet you do, too. Guess what? We're all ears.

In the grander scheme of things, BW's overarching goal is to create social dialog. Whether we achieve that by moderating a face-to-face discussion on health care among our readers (one that we'd likely be hosting in cyberspace anyway) or whether we do it by taking our own problems as a small business public, we're optimistic that plenty of you will want to chime in.

Join BW on Sunday, Jan. 4, at 10 a.m. at the Egyptian Theatre for a talk about health care in your life and what you would like to see change. For more information, visit citydesk.boiseweekly.com.

—Rachael Daigle

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