Carrie Lukas
Health care has dominated policy-related press. It makes sense: the President and the Democratic Party are proposing a massive reorganization of our healthcare sector, and a government expansion that would cost taxpayers hundreds of billions-and potentially trillions-of dollars. If would-be reformers succeed in creating a new government-run health insurance program, private health care would likely slowly disappear, and the United States will have taken a giant leap toward European-style socialism. Such change deserves great attention and deliberation.

Yet government-run medicine isn't the proposal being debated today that would move us closer to a European-style economy. The public should also pay close attention to proposed new workplace mandates, such as the Healthy Families Act, which recently received its first hearing in a subcommittee on Capitol Hill.

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The Health Families Act would require covered employers to offer seven days of paid sick leave to employees (part-time employees would be eligible on a pro-rated basis). The law would apply to employers with fifteen employees or more, and employees would be able to take this paid leave for a personal medical condition (including related to mental health), the diagnosis of a condition, or for that of a family member or someone with whom the employee has the "equivalent of a family relationship."

Proponents of the bill would applaud this measure as necessary to protect all of the workers who today don't have paid sick leave and face hardship when they or one of their family members become ill. They'd likely point out that this proposal is much more modest than what's standard on the Continent, where generous paid leave packages are the norm.

And certainly, some would benefit from this legislation. Even though most employers offer paid leave, there are millions without this type of benefit. Those who are economically more vulnerable-those with lower incomes and part-time jobs-are less likely than others to have access to paid leave, and, therefore, are most likely to benefit from this new mandate.

Carrie Lukas

Carrie Lukas is the Managing Director at the Independent Women’s Voice and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism.