By Bob Herman
Becker’s Hospital CFO, April 9, 2014
A new report from nonpartisan advocacy group Public Citizen said a publicly funded healthcare system that guarantees universal coverage would not only reduce healthcare costs — it would also be an economic relief for employers and businesses.
Public Citizen analysts said a single-payer system, commonly referred to as a “Medicare for all” option, could benefit businesses and the general public in three ways:
- Universal healthcare would end “job lock.” Job lock is a term used for when employees do not want to switch jobs or pursue new ventures out of fear of losing health insurance.
- Universal healthcare would likely reduce healthcare costs. Several healthcare researchers and physicians have conducted studies finding that annual savings from moving from a multipayer to a single-payer system could be in the billions, most of which would be gained from less spending on administrative and billing functions.
- Universal healthcare would equalize healthcare costs for businesses. Competitive U.S. businesses already pay large sums of money to offer health insurance to their employees, the report stated. Financing a single-payer system would require different taxing mechanisms on businesses, but reports indicate businesses would not likely pay more than they already do — and many may actually pay less. This would especially help small business owners, the report said.
Taylor Lincoln, research director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and author of the report, said in a news release the issue is nonpartisan, but it has been absorbed by partisan factions at both ends of the aisle.
“Small businesses have rated the cost of health insurance as their top concern for a quarter century, and large businesses struggle with healthcare obligations that their international competitors do not have to worry about,” Mr. Lincoln said. “If it weren’t for entrenched partisan alliances, business leaders would have demanded that Congress relieve them of healthcare burdens long ago.”
Public Citizen’s report comes roughly eight months after Gerald Friedman, PhD, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, released a similar study. Dr. Friedman found if the U.S. adopted a single-payer system, the healthcare system could save $1.8 trillion over 10 years.