Report: Single-payer insurance would be boon for businesses

If the United States implemented a single-payer health insurance system, small and large businesses would reap the benefits, including seeing their costs go down, according to a new report from Public Citizen.

"Small businesses have rated the cost of health insurance as their top concern for a quarter century, and large businesses struggle with healthcare obligations that their international competitors do not have to worry about," Taylor Lincoln, the report's author and research director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division, said Tuesday in a statement. "If it weren't for entrenched partisan alliances, business leaders would have demanded that Congress relieve them of healthcare burdens long ago."

The report found universal health coverage would benefit businesses by ending "job lock," which makes employees feel tied to their jobs for fear of losing their health insurance coverage. This phenomenon could be preventing individuals from becoming self-employed and launching their own small businesses.

Universal care also would lower administrative costs, including billing and other interactions with insurers, which account for an estimated 31 percent ($294.3 billion) of U.S. healthcare spending, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

And businesses' costs would lessen because a universal system spreads out costs across more entities. "Businesses that provide healthcare benefits would no longer have to essentially subsidize those that do not by covering the unreimbursed cost for care provided to the uninsured," the report states.

Some states are working to create a single-payer system to realize some of these benefits. Vermont, for example, enacted a law that creates a universal, unified healthcare system that officials plan to launch in 2017. Meanwhile, Maryland leaders are experimenting with their own single-payer approach, which would set an annual budget for all hospitals to manage their fees for the year.

To learn more:
- here's the Public Citizen statement and report (.pdf)