Health care costs are a top concern in just about any recent survey of business leaders. In fact, for 12 consecutive quarters, the cost of health care has been the top issue of concern to business leaders, according to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation’s Prosperity Pulse, a quarterly survey of business leaders across Ohio.
For years, the Ohio Chamber has opposed bills seeking to create a single-payer health care system in Ohio. Such proposals typically call for a combination of new taxes on employers’ payrolls, new taxes on businesses’ gross receipts and income tax increases to finance their exorbitant costs.
Fortunately, no such bill has received serious attention in Ohio. However, one-size-fits-all systems – whether called Medicare for All, Medicare buy-in or the public option – are all the rage in health care policy at the federal level, as you’ve probably heard.
Disturbingly, a poll commissioned by the U.S. Chamber found that many Americans don’t understand what Medicare for All is. As we get closer and closer to November, it is important to know the facts: these proposals would limit access, increase costs for employers and workers and inhibit innovation. Medicare for All, for example, would eliminate privately funded health plans, including employer-sponsored coverage.
For Ohio businesses struggling with rising health care costs, an expensive single-payer system that does nothing to fix rising costs isn’t the answer. In addition, health plans employ over 22,000 Ohioans and, under some of these proposals, many of these workers could be displaced or laid off as the insurance industry disappears or is forced to restructure.
Rather than pursuing a government-run system, we urge policymakers in Washington – and in Columbus – to work together to build on what is working today, strengthening employer-provided health coverage while working to reduce health care costs.