Letter to the editor | Misplaced priorities

August 31, 2013 

Paul Kellermann’s column, “Benefits don’t benefit all” (CDT, Friday), was on point.

Although I am a Penn State graduate assistant covered under a plan different from that of faculty and staff members, I am concerned with the recent policy changes that spurn privacy and increase costs for employees, especially those who are paid less.

Could such changes be next for the insurance plan for graduate assistants and students who, almost invariably, are among the most economically vulnerable people in Happy Valley?

It is, indeed, curious that Old Main has recently voiced concern about trying to rein in tuition costs only when it comes to the issue of employee health insurance (and certainly never when it comes to athletics and butt-covering legal maneuvers).

Though, certainly, the individual rank-and-file employee stands to take a noticeable hit from the policy changes, is the university actually saving an appreciable amount of money? Even if this matter of savings is unclear, it is clear that Old Main is thumbing its nose at employee privacy and economic well-being.

That is not a good thing.

It is a shame that Old Main could not be more bullish about tuition increases in budgetary negotiations in Harrisburg; that might actually be a fruitful approach.

On the other hand, perhaps it is time to think about a nationalized, single-payer health-care system in which employers and corporate insurance entities would have no role.

The Penn State problems and other nascent problems associated with unintended side effects of Obamacare remind me of the value of such a system.

Danny Brouillette, State College

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