Single Payer Healthcare

The Nation is arguing that single payer healthcare is good for business.

Publicly financed but privately run healthcare for all–including free choice of physicians–would cost employers far less in taxes than their costs for insurance. Universal coverage could also work magic in less obvious ways. For example, employers would no longer have to pay for medical care under workers' compensation, which in 2002 cost them more than $38 billion. Auto-insurance rates would fall for them–and everyone–if the carriers were no longer liable for medical and hospital bills. You'd think that in its own selfish interest, Corporate America would be fighting to replace the existing system with universal health coverage. Yet it doesn't lift a finger.

In the short-term, businesses should support it. It removes an expense, just the way social security probably did when companies stopped providing pensions because of it. Of course, now they have to pay taxes to support that system, but I'm sure that would never happen with healthcare because the government is a model of efficiency and proper incentive structures. I guess if the costs got too high the government could always regulate them, right? And we all know regulation leads to increased productivity, increased innovation, and economic boom.

Alright enough sarcasm. Check out the third page where Denmark is listed as a country with a single payer system, with the implication that things work well over there. I lived there one summer while I took a class and you know what really happens? There is such a wait for health services that private clinics have sprung up anyway. The regular folks go to the public clinics and the wealthy forgo their free healthcare any go to a private clinic. Of course, none of this invalidates the argument that using the short-term analysis, government sponsored healthcare would be good for business because it would reduce costs. But businesspeople are citizens too, and perhaps they realize the larger societal problems that such a system would bring.