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Utopian concept: NFL players should have health care for life...

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by MoLewisrocks, Jul 14, 2011.

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How should post career heath care be provided for NFL players?

Poll closed Jul 19, 2011.
  1. Owners should required to provide it over and above career earnings.

    6.5%
  2. Players should be required to provide it based on career earnings.

    12.9%
  3. Both sides should share the cost of providing it as part of career earnings.

    64.5%
  4. Other

    16.1%
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  1. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In theory I agree. In practice I realize it's a crippling concept because when players and others parrot it they mean free care for life. Players and the association* that represents them (not to mention agents) never wants to contribute remotely enough to fund that level of benefit for past, present or future NFL retirees at the expense of current earnings.

    The league proposed extending lifetime NFL plan eligibility to players including setting up player benefit accounts to help fund post career health insurance as part of their initial offers back in March. The offer De termed the worst in the history of sports as I recall. They also proposed assisting in funding extended care policies for retired players. Because few people grasp that health plans don't cover dementia care let alone upscale care in an assisted living facility or memory impaired unit. That offer formed the financial basis of the one still on the table, $141M cap including benefits. Only the players balked at $27M of the figure being devoted to benefits. As usual they wanted cash up front. And no responsibility for funding post career care because apparently they believe an employer should bear the brunt of that.

    I think this is the crux of the issue that is holding up the CBA, rhetoric about rookie deals aside. The league proposed half of the savings from capping rookie deals go to retiree benefits funding while the other half went to maintaining or enhancing veteran salaries. The NFLPA countered that half had to remain earmarked for eventual return to those rookies. The NFLPA and it's members remain committed to maximizing up front cash for their current constituents while paying lip service to the concept of lifetime health care and benefits for all who played the game as something that should be provided in exess of maximized career earnings. Owners are increasingly tiring of being painted as somehow callous for not providing better benefits to players who historically have chosen to pass on them while simultaneously pointing the finger back at ownership when the need inevitably arises because so many players also historically chose to live beyond even their comparatively substantial means or made poor post career investment choices.

    Lomas Brown: NFL should provide health care for life | ProFootballTalk

    So as fans, who do you think is responsible for a players health and welfare post career? Are the players responsible because they've historically chosen to maximize cash earnings, or should the league be required to care for past, present and future retirees in addition to any contractual obligations they met at the time, or should that responsibility be shared or optional, and if so should that not be calculated as part of the overall division of revenue?
  2. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    The players are starting to annoy me.

    If not for the NFL, few would have decent jobs. Are they grateful? What is James harrison qualified to do besides hit people? Not MMA. Not him. Harrison specializes in hitting defenseless people half his size who aren't looking ... oops, getting off track here.

    My point is that these guys are making millions. Guys like Mayo were surprised at how much health insurance costs and how much it hurt. WTF? The tenth pick in the draft is complaining about the cost of health insurance?

    I'm not surprised at how much health insurance costs, and neither are most people. Some us us work at jobs we hate because the job provides health insurance. And we don't call our boss a dictator and a puppet because we'd be fired. (Excuse me, James, how can someone be a dictator and a puppet at the same time?)

    BAck on track, we lose our $40,000 a year job and health insurance becomes a huge issue. They, who could afford so much easier that any of us, cry about this and that, and worse, they deep down believe they are entitled.

    Spoiled brats.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  3. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Rookie

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    I think it is a good idea.

    Percentage of the pot issues aside (how much the players get vs. the owners)

    I think any program that gives players less money now and does more to provide them with benefits later is a good idea for several reasons.

    1. Many of the players are going to wind up broke. I would much rather the NFL pay for their later life health care, than my tax dollars.

    2. Many young NFL players have TOO much money.

    3. Helps the little guy at the expense of super stars. If being a UDFA who is just a camp body gets you insurance for life but results in less money being available for the Brady and Mannings of the league I see that as a good thing.
  4. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I tried to make the pole fairly clear. I guess I failed since your vote doesn't match your post...;)
  5. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Frankly, I think there should be some cost sharing (e.g., players' healthcare expenditures should be limited to, say, 20% of their pension), but that the NFL and NFLPA should, in some manner, be jointly responsible for most of the costs.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  6. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Rookie

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    I hit the wrong button. You poll was okay.
  7. part-timer

    part-timer Rookie

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    The contractual obligation of both the NFLPA and the owners was set in the agreement and signing of each CBA. To expect that any shortsidedness of any party in the agreement can expect future compensation to make up for that is out of the question. If a party with no foresight looks to put his total compensation in current pay and ignore the need for future benifits, that is to be blamed on no one other than the party and his current greed for imediate compensation. NO ONE reading about this after working for their whole life will even think to aproach their previous employer in retirement for better retirement benifits than they had agreed to during their working career.

    The attitude of entitlement shown by players in their short NFL careers that expect to be compensated for LIFE is realy out of touch with reality. You loose one job you go get another, just like everyone else. You want medical benifits for life you give up current compensation to pay for it.

    Every job has its hazzards, and many are much worst than the NFL and are paid insignificant amounts when compared to the NFL, So I for one have no compassion for the players that were well compensated for their service asking for more than they agreed to, haveing squandered their huge windfalls of their paydays.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  8. Frezo

    Frezo Rookie

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    50/50 split down the middle, until the player has had insurance from another source for, say, two years. They would then be dropped. This would take care of players that were too injured to get a good job elsewhere while ensuring that loafers aren't just clamped onto the NFL teat. There should probably be an exception for players that were so injured they have trouble getting out of the house or forming a sentence. They should get full coverage if they qualify for disability.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  9. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Disable Jersey

    Whatever the CBA comes up with
  10. lamafist

    lamafist Rookie

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    A couple problems with your argument: First of all, when talking about retired players, all but the most recent played in an era before the "huge windfalls" of the contemporary NFL. What's more, those playing before 1993 were subject to restrictions regarding where they could shop their talents that the courts have deemed to constitute wage fixing and illegal restraint of trade. While the NFL may have avoided direct legal liability for diminished wages by settling White vs. the NFL, that doesn't change the fact that the contractual obligations you refer were in part products of the league's antitrust violations.

    Secondly, from miners with black lung to the 9/11 first responders, there have been many, many cases in this country in which a class of employees have been awarded retroactive compensation for the harmful effects of unsafe working conditions. Even before OSHA made it explicit, the disposition of our judiciary has long held that American workers have a basic, non-waivable right to safety in the workplace and that the onus is on the employer to anticipate all potential dangers, and provide compensation for even the unpredictable. Proof of not acted-upon foreknowledge of potential harm is only necessary for determining punitive damages.

    Not that the league really has a solid defense in any case. There's been sufficient evidence suggesting lasting permanent and degenerative damage from a career in professional football for multiple decades, and until recently, the NFL's sole strategy has been to deny, suppress, and even solicit bogus contradicting science-for-hire studies. So while one can argue whether a retired player deserves health coverage for a tonsillectomy or for his family, there's no way around the fact that the NFL needs to own its responsibility for the degenerative orthopedic and neurological damage endured by its former players.

    Now, as for who should shoulder the financial burden for the health care the NFL clearly owes its retired players, that's more complicated. I can't think of a logical argument for why today's crop of player's should be considered to own a priori any of this debt incurred by the NFL before they had any connection to the league, but nothing says that the owners can't make 'buying into' this old obligation part of signing on to the new CBA. So, in terms of 'cosmic justice,' I would say that the financial burden for the health care of retired players naturally falls on the owners of the franchises that insufficiently - if innocently - underestimated the dangerous effect of the sport. But then, once we start talking in terms of abstract ethical questions, I believe that the current players, as indviduals who, by circumstance, have both the means to help the retired players and a heightened ability to empathize with them, have a direct moral imperative to do so.

    So ultimately, I hope the players recognize that just because they could justify not having an intrinsic obligation to contribute to the retired players' health care doesn't mean they need to or should.
  11. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Suppose we were in some other country, where the government DOES pay everybody's health care. Then to a first approximation the problem would go away. On the other hand, employers and employees would have an obligation not to get employees so messed up they were a huge burden on the taxpayers, conceptually tied in part to the free health care even though technically they'd probably be unrelated in law.

    Well, suppose you're a citizen or legislator of a country, and somebody says "As you know, I'm doing something REALLY REALLY popular, which people would greatly miss if it were gone, and everybody at risk is a consenting adult." And suppose your response was "Good point, but even so you should reimburse society for the major cash costs you're imposing on it."

    You'd likely wind up calling for some kind of special tax, probably off the top of ongoing revenue.
  12. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Personally, if there is a healthcare for life provision, it should be based on need. Guys like Manning and Brady are going to make over $100 million during their career just on their contracts and that is before they make as much or more on endorsements. Players like this should be excluded to cover the cost of players who retired before the big money or low level players who never made tens of millions of dollars.

    If guys who get eight figure signing bonuses cannot afford health insurance for the rest of their lives, it is their own fault. I think these guys should make the sacrifices to assure that players who will really need NFL paid health insurace get it. They can easily make a formula that says that players making over X value during their career are excluded from the program. That will lower costs significantly and provide the insurance to the people who really need it.

    I am a guy who feel the veterans gets screwed in most CBAs, but I am only really concerned with the guys who built the league while getting paid in a lifetime that some player get in a single paycheck and the low level players who destroy their bodies for a three to four year career at six figures a year. I don't think the guys who make tens or even hundreds of millions in their playing career need every retirement benefit possible.
  13. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Without dragging this into the political forum, there are people who can't get insurance today because they had acne, let alone the toll that football takes.
  14. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Exxcept when Obamacare kicks in in 2012, healthcare companies cannot deny anyone benefits for pre-existing conditions. Enough with the politics.
  15. PittPatriot

    PittPatriot PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Here is my plan:
    Give players the option of having a Health Savings Account (HSA).
    If they opt for this plan, they could take a max of $40K of their pre-tax income and put into an HSA. Money from this account could be allowed to accrue interest or be put into mutual funds, invested, etc...but it must always remain in the HSA.
    While they are active players, their insurance should be fully covered by the team. When they retire, they could then have a substantial amount of money saved up in the HSA to spend for their health insurance. That would keep even a "bankrupt" player from being left out in the cold as HSA money can only be used legally for medical expenses, not crack, hookers, or posse expenses.
  16. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That's the prudent point there Rob; based on need. Like any system I'm sure this will be abused by the faction of jerks out there who abuse systems simply because they can.

    I'm in favor of the retired players healthcare fund/system but there has to be stringent parameters attached to it.
  17. lamafist

    lamafist Rookie

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    Not exactly how much of a concern this would be in practice. Once you get up to Brady/Manning type money, for the most part, the doctors you're going to want to see don't deal with insurance companies, except maybe in special cases. I mean, do you think Brady whipped out his Harvard Pilgrim card when Dr. ElAttrache's bill came due?

    You'd be surprised by how de facto "two-tiered" our health care system has become. At least I was. With the exception of my GP, I haven't seen a doctor that would work with insurance companies in years.
  18. FirstAndGoal

    FirstAndGoal Rookie

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    Some of you guys make me laugh. You complain because these guys are fighting to get every penny but if it were you, you'd be saying how you fought for everything.

    It doesn't surprise me that there's a common mentality out there where you despise anyone who has more than you. These guys are just trying to get their piece of the pie. Excuse me if their pie is much larger than yours. If you were in their shoes, you would do the same thing.... either work harder or shut up. Either way, no one cares.
  19. PatsWickedPissah

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    Congress voted to abolish HSA's with Obamacare
  20. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I tried to google that and can't find anything...

    There have been some changes for sure, but I do know that the league was offering to set up savings plans for players to help fund the cost of allowing vested players to retain their NFL health care benefits for life as opposed to for 5 years post retirement as well as to fund extended care policies for past and present players to provide for potential dementia care. They started the "88" plan a while ago for earlier retirees that provides $88K per year for medical and custodial care. I believe at issue on that remains who pays for it (until now it's been the league...).
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