You know something is up when a national business publication allows the words “single payer” and “socialism” to grace its pages – and in a good way. In his column for Forbes, “A Dose of Socialism Could Save Our States – State Sponsored, Single Payer Healthcare Would Bring in Business & Jobs,” Rick Ungar writes:
In what strikes me as the greatest combination since chocolate met peanut butter, it makes nothing but dollars and sense for clever state governments to shift to a single-payer state healthcare system as the key driver for attracting business to their struggling domains.
Ungar goes on to explain how single payer would benefit businesses, especially small businesses, by reducing labor costs and making them more competitive with foreign companies. He implores conservative state legislators to drop their ideological (and I would add, irrational) fear of creeping Communism, and be open to an idea that would spark economic prosperity. These legislators should listen.
But in America, ideology often trumps common sense – especially when that ideology provides some people a lot of money and power. Since the business community is so powerful here in America, it’s frustrating that more small businesses and corporations don’t join the Medicare-for-all movement. Businesses would rather not shell out the increasingly high cost of health care benefits for their employees. But you don’t see many businesses begging the government to take over the responsibility. You don’t see many of them using their powerful lobbyists to persuade conservative lawmakers to vote in favor of a public healthcare system. Instead, many businesses prefer to shove more and more of the costs onto their employees. Or they drop coverage altogether and create more uninsured people, which ends up shoving the costs onto taxpayers.
In America, anything that smacks of the dreaded “S-word” is to be automatically dismissed. In America, government is bad; privatization and profit are good. People are all forced to play the free-market game, even when it doesn’t make sense. If businesses can’t or won’t provide health coverage, then Americans should purchase private insurance in the open market (the more deregulated, the better), or they can just go without. A public healthcare system that will actually cover everyone and save money continues to be a non-starter. I hope more positive articles about single payer in the business press can change these outdated attitudes.