Universal Healthcare Actually Reduces Costs

In pursuing universal healthcare, we face a simple and very effective argument. “We don’t want socialized medicine- It will raise my taxes.” This is simple and very persuasive. I have watched the author of this line of argument speak. His name is Wendell Potter and he now spends most of his energy trying to refute the lies he made viral. You can learn more at Business Leaders for Health Care Transformation https://www.blhct.org

In trying to look at the available data and find a good place to put effort it becomes obvious that one of our natural allies should be businesses. Because of a fluke of history, American businesses, big and small, shoulder a giant burden in paying for the health care of their workers. About 60% of American workers get their insurance through their employer. For a family of four the average annual total family coverage premium in 2019 topped $20,000 for the first time, coming in at $20,576. That’s up nearly $4,000 or 22 percent from 2014. The amount of that paid by the worker hit $6,015, up nearly $1,200 or 25 percent from 2014 but the employer is covering the rest, up to 70% in some cases!

I work for an international airline. According to their annual reports, they spend more than $15,000.00 per employee for health coverage, and this goes up 5-10% every year. It is in effect a “tax” on businesses in the US that businesses in other parts of the world are not subject to. Built into this “tax” are huge profits for health care companies, insurance companies and drug companies. In switching to a plan like Improved Medicare for All we could replace this “tax” and replace it with a 7.5-percent payroll tax on employers, and a 4-percent income tax surcharge on households. The employer tax would cost firms about $3,750 per employee, only about one-quarter of what they pay for typical health insurance premiums today. The extra income tax would cost a family of four that makes $50,000 and takes the standard deduction about $844 annually! As opposed to more than $6000. Plus, this household would owe no deductibles or copayments as they do with typical employer-sponsored coverage.

The savings to the employer could be returned to the workforce. Most companies in the US have one or more employees who spend much of their time researching health care alternatives to help the company save money. Imagine all the time and effort saved by making health care into a line item. Our challenge is getting through all the noise to present this to businesses. If you own a business or know someone who would be open to further discussion let me know. It is my goal to spread the word.

Ranger Miller