State Issue: Healthcare

ADOPTING A HEALTHCARE SYSTEM THAT MAKES GOOD BUSINESS SENSE

It is no secret that the American healthcare system is broken; costs are out of control, and we pay more and receive poorer health outcomes than citizens of all other industrialized nations. Less widely known is that our healthcare system has failed American businesses too, small companies in particular. The cost to buy and administer health benefits is a significant barrier to startup and hiring — costs that foreign competitors do not face. Small businesses are especially disadvantaged by our system, because their small size prevents them from obtaining competitive pricing on quality insurance plans, which makes them vulnerable to serious cash flow and workforce instability. Our current system’s inadequate cost-control mechanisms will cause these pressures to increase over time, leaving American companies increasingly at a competitive disadvantage. For these reasons, small business owners, and those supportive of small businesses must urge law makers to implement meaningful healthcare reform, as outlined below.

HEALTHCARE REFORM WE SUPPORT MetroIBA supports reforms that will deliver affordable, quality healthcare for all citizens. Accordingly, we judge any specific healthcare reform proposals, based on their ability to:

• Remove Barriers to Business Startup and Hiring
• Foster a Healthy, Stable and Productive Workforce
• Provide Economic Security
• Aggressively Control Costs and Eliminate Waste
• Support Fair Competition
• Provide Proper Incentives that Encourage Shared Responsibilities

To date, the healthcare reform proposal that we judge will best meet the above criteria is the Minnesota Health Plan.  The MN Health Plan is patterned on systems that have already worked very well for a long time. It is often referred to as “single-payer” insurance. MetroIBA’s support for the MN Health Plan comes after careful examination of various proposals that promise “quality, affordable healthcare for all,” and is based on the following criteria:

Remove Barriers to Business Startup and Hiring. We want business owners to focus on what they do best—running their businesses and creating jobs, not purchasing and administering health benefits. Premiums as well as the labor costs associated with shopping for and administering plans are an obstacle to anyone wanting to start a business or hire more staff. Not only are such costs growing out of control, but increasingly, businesses must also pay consultants to help them understand complex policies and plans to avoid buying one with gaping holes in coverage. Removing the tie between business and health coverage is vital for small business.

Foster a Healthy, Stable and Productive Workforce. We want coverage for all citizens so that employees and business owners have the opportunity to take control over their health rather than delaying care until more expensive and interruptive treatment is needed. This will keep businesses of all sizes running smoothly, and is especially important for smaller businesses that are less able to accommodate employee absenteeism.

Provide Economic Security. We want small business owners and their employees to have the peace of mind that even if their business fails, their health doesn’t have to, and even if their health fails, their business doesn’t have to. Small employers are especially vulnerable to premium spikes because fewer employees share the risk of major illness occurring.
Such spikes force employers to either drop or reduce coverage, which often results in changes in plans and discontinuity of care, creating even further havoc and disruption. Moreover, loss of a business owner due to poor health and inadequate coverage risks loss of an entire business and all its jobs. As such, quality, affordable healthcare for all keeps jobs in the community.

Aggressively Control Costs and Eliminate Waste. We need a healthcare system that is effective in delivering quality care for all, while taking aggressive control over costs. Our current healthcare system is plagued by excessive spending on salaries, marketing, underwriting, redundancies and other costs unique to a free-market system of private insurance. Adopting public healthcare insurance will allow us to produce significantly better healthcare outcomes at up to 50% savings, as has been accomplished in every other industrialized nation.

Create Fair Competition. We strive to create a level playing field for small business owners in recruiting top talent. Our current private insurance system favors businesses that can attract and retain employees by leveraging resources to provide stronger insurance options. corporations who can lure top talent with Cadillac insurance plans that cost less due to their large employee base. Removing this unfair advantage gives employees more freedom to go where they want, which in turn allows innovation to flourish in our small companies. What’s more, by unhinging healthcare burdens from businesses, all American businesses, large and small, are better able to compete in the global marketplace, where foreign companies are not shouldering out-of-control health costs.

Provide Proper Incentives that Encourage Shared Responsibilities. We strive to create a healthcare system that provides proper incentives rather than unseemly ones; where employers cannot receive an advantage for firing unhealthy workers; where doctors aren’t rewarded for offering unnecessary procedures; where doctors are fairly compensated and can effectively provide the needed care; where supply-chain and distribution cost are fairly priced and responsibly administered; where middlemen cannot receive profits for adding little or no value; and where healthcare organizations or institutions can no longer receive benefits for reducing costs at the expense of good health for all.

MetroIBA advocates a healthcare system that fosters the good health of all members of society, recognizing it takes a whole community for businesses to succeed. We support adoption of the MN Health Plan while remaining open to any incremental steps toward its passage that may arise through the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange.