Single-Payer Health Care in Pennsylvania

There’s not much I like about ObamaCare.  For example, it is creating a national database.  Supposedly it’s up to us and our doctors what goes in there, but doctors will be pressured by the loss of Medicare payments if they don’t put enough in the database.  So?  The last time I was at the doctor, she asked me if I own any guns.  That’s not exactly medically-necessary information.  And it’s not exactly what I’d like to put in a government database.

I also don’t like being fined for not buying a product.  This isn’t the same as Pennsylvania making me buy car insurance.  For one thing, it’s my state, which is closer to me and has different powers than the federal government.  Second, I don’t have to own a car.  I have to buy the insurance only if I’m going to 1) own a car and 2) drive it on the road.  ObamaCare requires us all to give money to insurance companies regardless of who we are or what we do.  But didn’t the Supreme Court say that the penalty is a “tax,” not a fine?  No one bought that.  The administration didn’t even argue that.  Curiously, ObamaCare emerged out of the Senate.  If the fine is now a tax, then ObamaCare is unconstitutional, because tax laws must arise out of the House, not the Senate.

But all that’s beside the point.  From the above, you wouldn’t figure I’d support a single-payer system, but I do wonder about having one for my home state.  This is very different from ObamaCare.  First, it’s not a big handout to insurance companies, since it would be supported by taxes and paid by the state directly to doctors.  Second, it would be carried out by Pennsylvania, for Pennsylvanians.

The benefits would depend on the system proposed.  HealthCare 4 All PA supports the Family and Business Health Security Act (HB 2551, SB 400).  They claim extraordinary savings for Pennsylvania using a system funded by a 10% employer payroll tax and a %3 income tax on recipients, which would cost both employers and employees less than what they now pay for insurance.  Bucks County alone, if I read their report correctly would save about $15 million each year.  If you include the total savings of the county government, the townships, and the school districts, the total savings in Bucks County comes to $79 million.  Collectively, county governments would save $2.3 billion.  Pennsylvania collectively would save $17 billion.  This savings would go far in dealing with the pension crisis.

Might this system produce other benefits for Pennsylvania?

Attract businesses. Imagine how attractive PA would appear to companies considering relocating from another state.  We could stop offering tax breaks to companies to come here.  Instead, they can come, pay their taxes, but pay less for health insurance.

Start new businesses. Imagine how much cheaper and less daunting it would be to start a business in PA.  Think of the entrepreneurs who could quit their jobs and start their own business because they wouldn’t have to worry about holding on to insurance.  And they could afford to hire employees.

Reduce poverty and financial hardship. HealthCare 4 All PA cites a ConsumerAffairs number that 40% of all bankruptcies are related to health crises.  A single-payer system would eliminate that.

More affordable higher education. Colleges and universities would decrease their labor costs.  Parents and students would have more money to pay for education.

There would, however, be losers: insurance companies.  On the other hand, we’ll attract more employers and other people would, as with ObamaCare, finally retire, because they are no longer burdened by extraordinary healthcare costs.

I can imagine a Pennsylvania with a single-payer system having less poverty, less unemployment, better education, more efficient government, and perhaps lower taxes – all while providing health care to all Pennsylvanians.  How could Pennsylvania residents, businesses, and politicians not support such a system?

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