The consequential flaws in the system

THE CONSEQUENTIAL FLAWS IN THE SYSTEM…. To help prevent spreading the flu, Americans have been getting some sound, common-sense advice. For example, if you’re feeling flu symptoms, don’t go to work and risk getting your colleagues sick.

Pat Garofalo notes one of the flaws in this.

Currently, nearly 50 percent of private-sector workers have no paid sick days. For low-income workers, the number jumps to 76 percent, and climbs to 86 percent for food service workers. These workers have to decide between the health of themselves and their co-workers, and the wages that they lose by staying home.

If you want to get paid, you can’t stay home. It creates a very powerful incentive to go to work, no matter how you’re feeling. (Yelizavetta Kofman noted recently, “[O]f the top 20 economies in the world, the United States is the only one that does not have a national standard for paid sick days.”)

For that matter, there’s an entire other group of Americans — tens of millions of them — with no health insurance. Maybe they’re feeling flu symptoms, maybe they’re even living in affected areas. But do they hesitate to seek medical attention because they can’t afford medical bills right now?

It seems like a system that guarantees paid sick time and provides coverage to all Americans would serve the nation’s interests pretty well right about now.

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