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Capitol Idea: Why Government-Run Healthcare Is Good For Business

Instead of leaping out of their seats to call President Obama a liar, by all rights Republicans ought to be jumping up to demand enactment of a robust public option today.

That's at least if the GOP was actually listening to the needs of its major constituency: the business community.

It's obvious that the insurance industry desperately doesn't want a federally run public option because of the potential for new competition that it will bring. As for the rest of corporate America, they ought to be cheering every time the words "public option" are even mentioned.

Just look at the results of a new poll of U.S. business leaders: nearly 90 percent of whom cite health care costs as a major concern, more than cite taxes, government regulation, labor costs or energy costs.

Without reform, 86 percent of those polled believe that health care costs will continue to rise in the next five years, and 55 percent believe it will go up "a lot." If costs continue to rise as expected, nearly nine out of 10 business leaders expect to raise their employees' deductibles and copayments. Nearly 8 out of 10 expect to cut benefits. And nearly one in three expects to lay off employees, the statement of results.

And this is astounding: this poll, taken at the height of the "health care scare" and all of the screaming about the "death panels" and other misinformation out there, finds that 51 percent of American business leaders want a public option.

Yes, that's right. A majority of U.S. business executives in this poll actually support a government-run public option for health care. The poll was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research on behalf of a group called Business Forward, and was based on 800 live telephone interviews with U.S. business leaders.

Are these guys crazy?

No, these business leaders get it. They understand that soaring health care costs represent a serious Achilles' heel as they compete in a global economy. Rising health care costs will make it harder for these business leaders to execute their businesses and realize more profit.

This is true whether you're a local florist, or a Fortune 500 company. More businesspeople ought to see the upside of health care reform, and use it to boost their profits and raise their stock price, which would happen almost from Day One after reform was enacted.

Given their legitimate business concerns over the price they are paying for rising health care costs, I'm not sure why Corporate America is not only doing more to support President Obama and others who are pushing health care reform — I wonder why these businesspeople aren't clamoring for a government-run system. Let government take it on, reduce costs as the president has described, and get all of those health care costs off companies' balance sheets, once and for all. Does it really make sense anymore, here in the 21st century, to continue to rest the primary responsibility for health coverage with employers?

A "Medicare for all" program would be a great boon for the bottom lines of most companies all across America.

Perhaps now is the time for a corporate health benefit to go the way of gold watches and company retirement pensions.

About Scott Nance

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    That’s at least if the GOP was actually listening to the needs of its major constituency: the business community.

    I’m glad you said this, because it gives me an opportunity to point out a common mistake made by many on the left which you’re repeating. The major constituency of the GOP is not, in fact, the “business community” or at least not the big businesses like the insurance industry. The truth is that big insurance and big pharma both give significantly more money to the Democrats than to the Republicans, which explains why the current health care legislation is so beneficial to insurance companies and will be so costly for small busiensses and entrepreneurs.

    The reason you see anger from the GOP and protesters all over the country and at the Capitol this weekend, is that the actual base of the GOP is the entrepreneurs and small business owners who make up 70% of the economy. These people are more numerous than the megacorporations and they can produce both campaign contributions AND significant numbers of votes. They have traditionally been politically independent, but the massive spending, government irresponsibility and impending massive taxation aimed right at them has galvanized them, and they are going to vote for whoever promises to end it, and the GOP is responding to that while most Democrats are not.

    So the truth is that big business is indeed working hand in hand with the Democrats right now, and the GOP has moved more populist and anti-corporate. Much more in the trust-busting tradition of Teddy Roosevelt than it has been in years.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave -

    You should tell the WHOLE truth, and not just that part of it that supports your contention.

    The truth is that big insurance and big pharma both give significantly more money to the Democrats than to the Republicans

    That is true…but only since 2006 or so. Here’s a quote from CNN Money:

    “But it wasn’t always this way. Big Pharma, voting with its wallet, used to be more of an enthusiastic supporter for the Grand Old Party. In the 2004 presidential election, drugmakers donated $516,000 to the Bush campaign, a huge increase over the $280,000 provided to Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate from Massachusetts, according to the center.”

    In fact, this chart shows that in the 19 years since 1990 it was not until the 2008 presidential campaign that Big Pharma began giving as much to the Democrats as to the Republicans. Before 2008…the most went to the Republicans (and gee whiz, I wonder who got the most during the Reagan era?).

    “Facts are stubborn things”. Let’s argue provable facts instead of just nebulous rhetoric, shall we?

    In other words, the REAL truth is NOT your contention contained in the last sentence of your first paragraph. I’m sorry, Dave, but I’ve got to call you on that one – that’s a complete falsehood.

    Furthermore, as for the “massive spending, government irresponsibility, and impending massive taxation aimed right at them”, I’ll start with Reaganomics – massive spending and government irresponsibility incarnate, and the GOP is still doing it.

    And the ‘impending massive taxation’? That’s yet another Republican shill, and for the vast majority of small businesses in America, also completely false. Some WILL pay more, but the vast majority will see NO increase in their taxes.

    You spoke of Teddy Roosevelt. IIRC, he was the first president to speak in support of the idea of universal health care. I’m sure you can school me on that particular issue.

  • zingzing

    glenn’s on a role…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “The reason you see anger from the GOP and protesters all over the country and at the Capitol this weekend, is that the actual base of the GOP is the entrepreneurs and small business owners who make up 70% of the economy.

    That may be true, Dave, but there’s still a flow in your reasoning. My experience with small business owners and entrepreneurs is that they’re a much more articulate bunch than the town-hall crowd.

    You can’t square this circle.

  • Clavos

    Some WILL pay more, but the vast majority will see NO increase in their taxes.

    A fiscal impossibility, given the ambitious scope of the plan; it’s a lie.

    Pure unadulterated bullshit.

    Joe Wilson was absolutely, unequivocally right: Obama is lying, and so are the Democrats.

    Through their teeth.

  • Clavos

    Perhaps now is the time for a corporate health benefit to go the way of gold watches and company retirement pensions.

    Receiving, as I do, two “company retirement pensions (one from each of the only two companies for which I worked in the corporate world), I was unaware that such pensions had become extinct.

    Sure glad you’re not running either of those two corporations, Scott.

  • http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com Scott Nance

    Hi Clavos,

    You are indeed fortunate, as such traditional pensions are indeed disappearing.

    Here is just one source.

    Best,

    Scott

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, your supposed “gotcha” of my point is nothing of the sort. You reinforce it by pointing out that the loyalist of the corporate lobbies is to whoever is in power and can get them theirs, not to a political party and certainly not to Republicans. And the fact that HR3200 was largely authored by and for those lobbies is also impossible to get away from.

    And the ‘impending massive taxation’? That’s yet another Republican shill, and for the vast majority of small businesses in America, also completely false. Some WILL pay more, but the vast majority will see NO increase in their taxes.

    This is a lie which you are repeating despite the massive evidence of how false it is. If we were to take ALL the income of the top 5% in perpretuity it would not pay the current debt and the debt which will grow through that time. The tax increase for the middle class will have to be massive. There is no alternative. If someone tells you there is, he is lying to you.

    You spoke of Teddy Roosevelt. IIRC, he was the first president to speak in support of the idea of universal health care. I’m sure you can school me on that particular issue.

    Quite true. Democrats defeated that proposal in Congress in 1907. If you were actually paying attention, you’d know that the protesters and even many Republicans do not oppose health care reform or even a national system for health care. They oppose the giant corporate payoff and abuse of liberty which is currently masquerading as a health care plan.

    You know damned well that I’ve outlined a number of alternative approaches to national health care which are more equitable, less costly and actually hold insurance companies and health care providers accountable.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave -

    You reinforce it by pointing out that the loyalist of the corporate lobbies is to whoever is in power and can get them theirs, not to a political party and certainly not to Republicans.

    So, um, which party was receiving more from Big Pharma during the Clinton years? That little fact obviates the error of your assumption. Any time you claim that Big Business doesn’t prefer Republicans, I’ve got three words for you: “Chamber of Commerce”. Here’s something from the 2008 election in the WSJ:

    “The Chamber says it has raised enough money this year from corporations to spend about $35 million on the election, double its budget for House and Senate races in the 2006 election. The group is supporting pro-business candidates, almost exclusively Republicans in contested Senate races.”

    Dave, please use facts to determine your belief, rather than using your belief to determine the facts.

    [No tax increase except for the top five percent] is a lie which you are repeating despite the massive evidence of how false it is. If we were to take ALL the income of the top 5% in perpretuity it would not pay the current debt and the debt which will grow through that time. The tax increase for the middle class will have to be massive.

    Ya gotta love factcheck.org, because they truly strive to be non-partisan and beat up on us Democrats too. Here’s what they said about what you think is a lie:

    “The vast majority of individuals who report business income or losses are not making upwards of $200,000 a year. In fact, only 2 percent of all those reporting business income in 2009 will earn enough to fall in the top two brackets. As we explained back when Obama’s tax plan was attacked on the campaign trail, the overwhelming majority of these mom-and-pop shops we hear about would not see their taxes go up under Obama’s proposal.”

    In all honesty, Dave, I think that as time goes on, taxes will go up – and for America’s sake, I hope they DO. While you claim it’s a logical error, I don’t think it’s mere coincidence that every major recession we’ve had since 1900 has been preceded by a major tax cut…whereas NO major recession has been preceded by a tax increase. The tax levels we had in the 50′s were horrible by today’s standards…but how was our economy performing while we had a 91% top marginal tax rate?

    Facts should determine belief. Belief should not determine facts.

    Democrats defeated that proposal in Congress in 1907. If you were actually paying attention, you’d know that the protesters and even many Republicans do not oppose health care reform or even a national system for health care. They oppose the giant corporate payoff and abuse of liberty which is currently masquerading as a health care plan.

    And as you well know, I’ve pointed out more than once how Democrats used to be the conservatives, and Republicans used to be the liberals. And I DO pay attention – while many Republicans do not oppose ‘health care reform’ (as long as it’s not one proposed by any Democrat (even though Obama is willing to allow tort reform)), I also know how someone vetoed the continued funding of S-CHIP. I know how a particular party pushed through Medicare ‘reform’…which included a little something that prevents Medicare (unlike the VA) from negotiating lower prices from Big Pharma. Yes, yes, such WONDERFUL health care reform we’ve had from the Republicans.

    But waitaminnit! Didn’t you just say “They oppose the giant corporate payoff“? Oh, I get it! Bush and the Republican Congress weren’t paying off Big Pharma…they were just ‘helping’ them. Uh-huh, sure….

    Facts should determine belief, Dave. Belief should not determine facts.

    You know damned well that I’ve outlined a number of alternative approaches to national health care which are more equitable, less costly and actually hold insurance companies and health care providers accountable.

    I’m sorry, Dave, but what YOU say doesn’t really matter unless you can get the Republican party to bring that as legislature to Congress.

    The day the Republicans become fiscally sane, push health care reform that is not a disguised payoff to Big Pharma (as Obama’s is (but to a lesser extent) to the HMO’s), make REAL efforts to reach out to the inner-city poor (and not pretend they’re ‘prevented’ from going there), stand for full equal rights for all (including LGBT’s (which you personally support)), and make real efforts to denounce the racists that still permeate much of the party…then I’ll become a Republican once more.

    But why should I do that, when the Democrats are already doing (or are trying to do) all those?

  • Zedd

    Perhaps some of you may have caught the study which confirms that 7 out of 10 doctors (I think – check me) prefer the public option to private insurance.

  • Clavos

    From the Philadelphia Examiner, Sept. 15:

    The recent results of a New England Journal of Medicine poll of 2,130 doctors as first reported by Reuters finds that 63% are in favor of both public and private health care options. Just 27% said they wanted private options only with one in ten doctors favoring public options exclusively.

    A majority of doctors (55%) also would like to see the Medicare age dropped a decade to cover those over the age of 55 according to the poll. Smaller surveys found that 73% of doctors said they ought to care for the uninsured and underinsured. 67% suggested they were willing to accept limits on payments for expensive drugs and procedures as a way to save money and make basic care available to more people.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos -

    That means a majority of doctors DO approve of there being a public option…whether or not the private option is there.

  • Clavos

    That means a majority of doctors DO approve of there being a public option…whether or not the private option is there. (emphasis added)

    Uh no, Glenn.

    Only 10% approve of the public option exclusively.

    The 63% approve of having both.

    And one in four approve of the private option exclusively.

    2.5 times as many as approve of public option only.

    Hardly a ringing endorsement.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos -

    There you go again (to quote Reagan). You misunderstood my statement, whether on purpose or not.

    If 10% approve of the public option exlusively, and if 63% approve of having both, then seventy-three percent approve of having a public option, whether or not the private option is there.

    It’s simple math, Clavos – 10 plus 63 equals 73 percent approve of there being a public option in existence. 63 percent out of that 73 percent want a private option, too.

    Okay? Do you understand that now? Nearly THREE-FREAKING-QUARTERS of doctors want to see a public option! Sixty-three percent ALSO want a private option in addition to the public option!

    Sheesh!

    Now I know these numbers don’t agree with what you want to believe, Clavos, so does that mean you’ll ignore these, too? Just like with America being 35th place in life expectancy, America’s health care system being 37th in effectiveness, and America’s health care system costing nearly 1.5 times what anyone else’s costs?

    Yeah, if your previous comments are any guide, I think you will ignore it. It doesn’t matter how much evidence I bring, and it doesn’t matter how reliable the source of the evidence may be…it doesn’t agree with what you believe, so the evidence must therefore be wrong.

    In all honesty, Clavos, you have my pity.

  • Zedd

    Hey guys did anyone hear that doctors prefer a public option to private insurance – 7 out of 10 I believe.

    snicker… tehehehe

    I mean Clav really… all of that for what?

    Let it go. Government run health care is not as convoluted as you thought it was. It turns out that private insurance is much worse (like we’ve been telling you for years). It’s alright we all live and learn.

  • Clavos

    Nearly THREE-FREAKING-QUARTERS of doctors want to see a public option! Sixty-three percent ALSO want a private option in addition to the public option!

    Very good, Glenn. Obviously because you can do simple addition, you must have at least attained the sixth grade.

    So add these numbers, too: 63 plus 27.

    90% of the doctors in the poll are in favor of a private option.

    So, what’s your point?

    In all honesty, Clavos, you have my pity.

    Why thank you, Glenn! What a warm, generous and kind heart you have — very befitting a liberal. But I’m not really interested in pity, Glenn. Send money instead.

  • Zedd

    But you’ve earned pity Clav. Go ahead lil buddy… take it. You’ve worked so hard for it lil tike!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos -

    The point is, while 90% of doctors (more than two thirds of said 90% want a public option) want a private option…

    WE ALREADY HAVE a private option…either pay the private companies (and hope you’re not denied)…or get NO health insurance at all.

    Gee, what an option! But we already have that option.

    The POINT (as you well know) is that the majority of doctors ALSO want to see a public option.

    Is that really so hard for you to grok?

  • CR

    If all Americans were offered the option of government run health care and business’s were let off the hook through a nice loophole,YES, they will drop their employer sponsored plans at the drop of a hat.

  • CR

    Glenn- my doctor refuses to accept Medicaid and recently told me that he makes no money even with my current employed sponsored health care provider. Many doctors are currently DUMPING Medicaid and Medicare patients or no longer accepting new government patients.Many doctors are also talking about retiring if this public option plan goes through, so I would interested in knowing where you get your info. I work in health care and I don’t see your optimism where I work.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But there are many as well, CR, who make up for the reduced rate of payment by volume. The examinations are of the most cursory type, but for a general kind of check up, it’s OK I guess. But you’re likely to run into problems when you run into complicated kinds of cases which require intensive or prolonged care.

    My sister and brother-in-law both are MDs. And although you’re correct about many in medical profession who speak of retiring, it’s not as clear cut as it was years ago, especially in today’s economy. My sister had retired a few years ago, but new financial obligation, substantial losses in the stock market, not to mention a certain ennui that sets once a person is no longer in their profession, have all contributed to her returning to work near full time (four days a week.)

    Another factor: because of the increasing shortage of medical personnel, hospitals and health care institutions now offer MDs a great many incentives to return to work. So your conclusion as regards what you see as massive retirements is anecdotal at best (as so is mine) and needs to be substantiated by further studies.