Biz leaders learn to love single-payer health care

by Mayling Simpson
Steamboat Springs, Colorado

In the fall of 2016, a colleague and I studied 18 businesses and seven public entities (city governments, county governments, school districts) in Routt County to see how Amendment 69, ColoradoCare, would affect their bottom lines. We also wanted to know how business leaders felt about the ballot issue and whether they would support it. We found if you show business leaders the potential savings from single-payer systems, they will come on board.

The entities we interviewed had little knowledge of the Amendment, but as we went along, calculating their costs or savings under ColoradoCare, they learned about it. Most were astonished to discover how much they would save under CCare. The seven public entities would save a total of $7.46 million in health care costs for their employees if the program began in 2019. Among the five nonprofits interviewed, two would pay more and three would pay less. One non-profit with 69 employees would have saved over $621,000, while another nonprofit with 160 seasonal employees, whom they don’t cover, would have paid $54,000 under CCare. Our local hospital would have saved over $3 million. Among the remaining 12 businesses, six would have paid more and six would have paid less to cover their employees. Out of the six who would pay more, three said they would support CCare anyway. Thus from this small study of 25 entities, six would not profit from the change but three said they supported it anyway. Businesses that already insure some of their employees would have been the big winners.

Businesses and public entities deserve to know more about the advantages of single-payer systems and, as a result, most will come on board. ColoradoCare did not pass, and due to the current turmoil in Congress over repeal of the ACA, we are not sure what form a single-payer system in Colorado or the nation could take. But every study undertaken on this subject shows that single-payer is cheaper than our current system and covers everyone.

Two great films to show your business community to get them on board are “Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point” and “Big Pharma: Market Failure,” both produced by the Unfinished Business Foundation. Gather your local business leaders and make the popcorn.

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