Marry me...I have health insurance

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It's been a tough couple of decades for marriage. Facing a current divorce rate of approximately 50%, pundits and analysts have blamed everything from secularism to birth control to same-sex marriages. One study has even noted a connection between divorce and being a "born again" Baptist! However, regardless of the reason, the one thing that everybody seems to agree on is that marriage is on its way out the door.

There might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, Kaiser Permanente conducted a study in which it sought to explore the potential connection between marriage and health care. The poll revealed that 7% of Americans admitted that, within the last year, they or someone in their household had decided to get married so they could get health benefits through their spouse. This ties in with the 28% of respondents who admitted that they had experienced problems because of the cost of health care. Respondents were more concerned about health care than housing and food costs.

While 7% is a very small fraction, it highlights a major issue: people appear to be making long-term life decisions based upon their worries about health care. On the bright side, however, the decline in health care may accomplish what alimony, societal approbation, and religious tirades have failed to do: it may strengthen the institution of marriage. After all, while many people don't have a problem with adultery and others aren't worried about going to hell, nobody wants to have an untreated case of strep throat!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. His wife has great insurance and has told him that, if he sticks around for a few more years, she'll put him on her policy.

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