I loved the Tier I cartoon by Toe in Sunday's paper. A smiling woman is surrounded by attentive men at a party while two women are holding their drinks and watching from a few feet away. One says to the other, "What's her secret?" The other responds, "She has Tier I benefits." Last year at a retirement seminar I facilitated, a man introduced his wife and said that she came with a dowry; she was Tier I. No explanation was necessary and everyone had a good laugh.
Given the critical importance of finding a job that provides health benefits, an interesting mental exercise is to imagine what would happen in the workplace if the United States joined the rest of the industrialized world and provided universal health insurance. Setting aside the philosophical issue of whether it is or isn't a government's responsibility to provide health care coverage to all citizens, a great question for the Empire opinion poll would be, "Would you stay in the job you're in if there was national health insurance?"
The question raised by Toe's cartoon regarding the advisability of picking a mate based on lifetime health care benefits is best left to more discrete venues.