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The Business Case for Medicare For All


Published on

Learn about the Business Leaders Transforming Healthcare campaign.

David Levine, CEO & President, American Sustainable Business Council

Richard Master, Founder and CEO, MCS Industries, Inc.

Jerry Friedman, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts

Marvin McPherson, Associate Director, Member Engagement, American Sustainable Business Council (moderator)

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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The Business Case for Medicare For All

  1. 1. The Business Case for “Medicare for All” Webinar July 12, 2017
  2. 2. • Represent over 250,000 businesses in 40 states. • Over 130 direct member businesses. • Over 80 association members. • Wide range of sustainability issues. • Advocate at federal level and in state capitals. • Place Op-eds and Policy Statements in media. • Have Biz leaders be spokes to media on issues. • Bring Biz leaders to DC to testify & lobby Congress & Administration. ASBC’s Reach & Capabilities
  3. 3. ASBC’s Reach/Capabilities DAVID LEVINE, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, ASBC David is the co-founder and chief executive officer of the American Sustainable Business Council. He has worked as a social entrepreneur for over 30 years focusing on the development of whole systems solutions for a more sustainable society through building strategic partnerships and broad stakeholders initiatives. Previously, he was the Founding Director of Continuing Education & Public Programs at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. From 1984–1997, David was Founder and executive director of the Learning Alliance, an independent popular education organization. .
  4. 4. BLTH is a campaign that has its frontline mission: to transform the healthcare system so that processes are transparent, evidence-based and priced as a function of measurable value. The current, multi-payer-financing health care model— with its costly layers of middlemen that add little or no value—must be addressed. BLTH advocates constructively for the transformation of the healthcare system by advancing policy consistent with members’ overall principles. WHAT IS BUSINESS LEADERS TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE?
  5. 5. • Transparency • Evidence-based • Value • Lean Production • Competitive Our Principles
  6. 6. ASBC’s Reach/Capabilities RICHARD MASTER, FOUNDER AND CEO OF MCS INDUSTRIES INC., Richard Master is the Founder and CEO of MCS Industries Inc., North America’s leading supplier of picture frames and decorative mirrors. He is the Executive Producer of two documentaries “FixIt, Healthcare at the Tipping Point” and “Big Pharma...Market Failure”. Richard’s interest in healthcare is triggered by the annual, relentless cost increases his company and its employees have experienced since 2000. Initial research and investigation led to the formation of the “Unfinished Business Foundation” which led to the productions. Richard has an active interest in public policy with particular focus on finding practical, common sense solutions to problems that many characterize as too
  7. 7. “Healthcare costs are the tapeworm of our economy.” Warren Buffet “A single payer system, with no insurance aspect is the way to go” Charlie Munger THE ECONOMIC MESSAGE FOR SINGLE PAYER
  9. 9. WHY CAN’T WE GET IT DONE WHEN THE PUBLIC IS IN FAVOR? Expanding Medicare to provide coverage to every American. All Democrats Republicans For 60% 75% 46% Oppose 23% 12% 38% Not Sure 17% 13% 17% Creating a new federal program that covers everyone. All Democrats Republicans For 62% 80% 43% Oppose 24% 10% 44% Not sure 15% 10% 13% The Economist April 2017
  10. 10. “When you take on pharma, you take on this whole town.” Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), on the power of pharmaceutical lobbyists in Washington. THE BIG CHALLENGE… MONEY IN POLITICS
  11. 11. TOXIC SPIN: THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT COMPETENT TO HANDLE SUCH A HUGE UNDERTAKING.  Government is not going to run the system.  This is not socialized medicine.  The Government will do what it does best. Tax Efficiently. Negotiate Prices. Pay bills when presented.  Medicare is the escrow agent.
  12. 12. TOXIC SPIN : SINGLE PAYER IS TOO EXPENSIVE.  Countries that have adopted a Single Payer healthcare system spend less per capita and produce better public health care results.  On average, many economic studies show a 10% savings through a Single Payer universal system.  Single Payer, eliminating administrative complexity, and central negotiation with power is the only way to curb run away cost in healthcare.
  14. 14.
  15. 15. ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF THE HEALTHY CALIFORNIA SINGLE- PAYER HEALTH CARE PROPOSAL (SB-562) • Dr. Robert Pollin • Distinguished Professor of Economics and • Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) University of Massachusetts-Amherst • Dr. James Heintz • Andrew Glyn Professor of Economics and • Associate Director, PERI • University of Massachusetts-Amherst • Dr. Peter Arno • Senior Fellow and Director of Health Policy Research, PERI • University of Massachusetts-Amherst • Dr. Jeannette Wicks-Lim • Assistant Research Professor, PERI University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  16. 16. ASBC’s Reach/Capabilities JERRY FRIEDMAN, PHD Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Gerald Friedman was born in New York City in 1955. After graduation from Columbia College in 1977 he worked on the research staff of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, before attending graduate schools at Harvard where he earned a Ph.D. in economics. In addition to his 1998 book, State-Making and Labor Movements. The United States and France, 1876-1914, he has written Reigniting the Labor Movement: Restoring means to ends in a democratic labor movement (2008) and Microeconomics: Individual Choice in Communities (2nd edition 2016). Professor Friedman is also the author of numerous articles on topics in the labor history of the United States and Europe, on the evolution of economic thought, labor economics, economic theory, the history of slavery in the Americas, and on current economic issues. He has been a regular correspondent on economics to television and other media outlets and a consultant to labor unions and to campaigns for single-payer health insurance.
  18. 18. THE REAL ISSUE: AMERICAN HEALTH CARE COSTS TOO MUCH FOR TOO LITTLE. Where we are going • What is wrong with competitive markets in health insurance: the 70:10 problem and adverse selection • Why US health care is so expensive, and why so many are locked out • Let no crisis go wasted? Now, more than ever, single payer is the answer. – Why we haven’t done it yet.
  19. 19. PRIVATE INSURANCE RAISES COSTS BECAUSE INSURERS PROFIT FROM WASTE 70:10 rule –70% of costs go to 10% – Shoe companies want to sell more shoes. Insurers profit by selling less. Find the 10%; drive them out! • Copays, deductibles, paperwork, hassles to drive away sick • Selection policies feed bureaucratic bloat Cherry picking Lemon dropping
  20. 20. PRIVATE INSURERS WHO PRACTICE ADVERSE SELECTION PROSPER Others face insurance death spiral Rising premiums Relatively healthy opt out Pool becomes more expensive Rising coverage costs
  21. 21. OTHER PROBLEMS: PRIVATE INSURERS ARE TOO SMALL TO BE EFFICIENT • They are too small to achieve efficiency in claim processing • They profit from restricting information • They profit by restricting access, undermining quality of care by disrupting continuity • Too small to drive down significant monopoly rents – Market is very sensitive to access to brands but relatively insensitive to price
  22. 22. PROBLEMS WITH US HEALTHCARE: COST AND QUALITY Life expectancy short 6 years. Or spending $7000 per person too much compared with Chile (with about equal life expectancy). 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 7 7.5 8 8.5 9 Life Expectancy and Health Spending OECD US Note: healthcare spending associated with longer life expectancy. Except, for the US
  23. 23. COMPARED WITH OTHER COUNTRIES, WE SPEND MORE TO GET LESS Change in real per capita spending and life expectancy, 1970-2008. Country Increase in per- capita spending Life Expectancy gain Cost/year of life gained Extra US Cost (waste) Canada $ 3,785 6.6 $ 573.48 $ 4,085 France $ 3,503 8.5 $ 412.12 $ 4,957 Germany $ 3,469 8.9 $ 389.78 $ 5,077 Sweden $ 3,159 5.7 $ 554.21 $ 4,189 UK $ 2,970 6.8 $ 436.76 $ 4,823 USA $ 7,182 5.4 $1,330.00 $ -
  24. 24. WE DON’T USE TOO MUCH HEALTH CARE. WE USE LESS THAN OTHER AFFLUENT COUNTRIES 3.5 4.5 5.5 6.5 7.5 United States OECD AVERAGE Physician Consultations per person
  25. 25. WE HAVE TRIED USING MARKETS TO CONTROL COSTS. RESULT: REDUCED ACCESS TO CARE 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% USA Average for 9 national health systems Experienced access barrier because of cost in past year
  26. 26. AMERICANS DIE BECAUSE THEY CAN’T AFFORD HEALTH CARE y = 10.452x + 234.15 R² = 0.3245 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 AgeAdjustedMortality Proportion with Cost Related Access Problems Mortality rate and cost-related access problems
  27. 27. WE ALL KNOW THE SOLUTION $3,000 $3,500 $4,000 $4,500 $5,000 $5,500 $6,000 $6,500 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 CMS and Single-Payer Spending: United States
  28. 28. WHY WE HAVEN’T DONE IT? CASE FOR SINGLE PAYER EXPLAINS OPPOSITION • Every saving comes from someone’s income • Benefits are prospective • Beneficiaries are the poor We have been losing against settled interests, including some rich and powerful, we are promising possible benefits going disproportionately to largely disfranchised groups, the poor and the sick
  29. 29. US HAS CREATED $3 TRILLION OF PRIVATE INTEREST IN INEFFICIENT AND INEQUITABLE HEALTH CARE • Health insurers • Elite (a.k.a. overpaid) hospitals and providers • Big Pharma • Medical equipment suppliers • People with good, and heavily subsidized, private insurance • . . . It might have been easier to do single payer in 1935, or 1965 . . .
  31. 31. OUTSIDE ADVOCACY TECHNIQUES For More Information or Get Involved with BLTH • Visit and join our campaign. • Talk to fellow business owners about BLTH and ask them to join. • Visit to view Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point and Big Pharma…Market Failure. • Email Eliza Kelsten at with questions.