Morton Mintz sat on our panel for “Guaranteed Health Care For All,” a Forum that Progressives For Pennsylvania organized 9/18/08. He is a media critic, freelance journalist at this point in his long and illustrious (sixty year) career.
He was a reporter for two St. Louis newspapers, the Star-Times and Globe Democrat from 1946-1958; and at the Washingtom Post, 1958-1988.
Morton Mintz wrote the article, “Single Payer: Good For Business” for The Nation Magazine, November 15, 2005.
Jerry Policoff created a PA Business Healthcare Report based, in part, on this and another Morton Mintz piece, as well as articles about Single Payer in the New York Times, a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Pittsburgh Business Journal of Milwaukee and the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Why is publicly-funded, privately-provided healthcare best for Business in Pennsylvania?
*Higher quality, comprehensive healthcare at less cost
*Saves 25% on administrative overhead for doctors, hospitals and patients
*Makes business budgeting and investing predictable and stable
*Ends nightmare negotiations with insurance carriers
*Generates strong job growth, starting with medical delivery industries
*Makes PA businesses more competitive in the national and global economies
*Leverages the Commonwealth’s buying power to cut prescription drug costs in half
*Shrinks property taxes, auto insurance and workman’s compensation
*Funded through an annual fairtax that replaces an unfair premium/ co-pay/deductible that far outstrips inflation
Single payer, defined as publicly funded, privately delivered healthcare for all, is a system which includes free choice of physicians and cuts taxes for employers. Employers would no longer have to pay for medical care under Workman’s Compensation which, in 2002, according to Morton Mintz’s resources, costs them more than 38 billion dollars.
Automobile insurance rates would fall for everyone because the carriers would no longer be liable for the medical and hospital bills of their injured or sick employees.
Why doesn’t Corporate America jump at this opportunity to embrace Single Payer health care delivery?
Many small business owners do understand the ramifications of continuing along the same reckless path of allowing Health Insurance providers to dictate American healthcare delivery.
This is what a few business owners in Pennsylvania have to say:
“This year, our premiums went up 74%, which our agent thought was a mistake. We have a woman who is terminally ill with cancer and the insurance company stated this had nothing to do with our increase. No company, large or small, can absorb that kind of cost or increase.
“So what? Drop our coverage? And how do you live with yourself?” Scott Tyson, MD, CEO, Pediatrics South Pittsburgh. PA (60 employees).
“We work with the system we have, but it is broken, and it seems like single payer is the way to go. We work very hard to try and insure our employees because we feel it is our obligation. Every year we sit down and look at our health plan. We make choices based on what should we cover; what should we not cover; what should the deductible be; how much should we charge employees when they go to the doctor’s office. We make all those decisions. Our employees end up going along for the ride. It’s not right but it’s the way it is. It’s my obligation to try and protect our plan and get the best, cheapest plan I can for our employees so I can continue to provide health insurance for them.” Alan Jacobs, President, Isaac’s Restaurant in South Central PA (700 employees).
“Our insurance rates have more than doubled in the last four years. We are paying over 20% over our existing payroll just for health coverage, and at budget time, you don’t know what to expect. When you’ve had 25% increases, you pretty much have to say we’re going to to expect an increase of 35%, or higher.
“We are a for-profit organization: we can’t afford to pay that and still make money. Under single payer we’d save at least $50,000 which I could use to hire more people. This past year we increased the deductible, and it was painful for us to do that. If we pass single payer, we’re going to attract business. There is no manufacturer that won’t want to locate to Pennsylvania because you can predict your expenses year after year. You would have stable costs.
“And everybody’s in and nobody’s out.” Charlie Crystal, Owner and CEO, Mission Research, a software firm in Lancaster, PA
“I believe it’s a moral obligation to provide healthcare for all employees. Six years ago I was paying $176 a month per employee for their health benefits. Last year it went up $577. This year it went up $627. They’re telling me next year it’s going up another 20 or 30%, and it’s not going to stop. It doesn’t make moral sense. It doesn’t make political sense. And it doesn’t make business sense.” Mike Stout, President, Steel Vally Printers of Pittsburgh PA (17 employees).
Morton Mintz interviewed Deborah Richter, a Vermont Physician, who believes publicly financed and privately delivered healthcare system can be enacted in every state. She believes that single payer should be conceived “as a public good, such as our roads, education, police and fire protection.”
She believes that if single payer is viewed as a practical issue as opposed to a moral issue, then support for Guaranteed Universal Healthcare would gain momentum overnight.