The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

How to create American jobs-health insurance for small business


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Feb. 08, 2018 - 11:13 PM

I’m a retired SVP with a publicly held health care corporation.

I now work as a volunteer with a wonderful non-profit organization, SCORE, which provides free mentoring to small businesses throughout the nation, including Georgia. It’s a fine program that I would recommend to anyone either starting a small business or expanding an existing one.

I strongly believe in the benefits of capitalism and have mentored hundreds of start-ups. Small business is the engine driving job creation in our nation… not tax cuts under the GOP tax proposal that primarily benefit international businesses, corporate officers and affluent investors like me. Per their own admission, these large corporations have no intention of adding jobs as a result of the GOP tax cut.

There are many, many obstacles in starting a new small business, among them health care insurance. The average health insurance cost for a family of four is now over $15,000 annually. If entrepreneurs have families with health issues, they may find themselves in an untenable position, seeking expensive insurance without government financial subsidies. 

This is one key reason why the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act – ACA – Obamacare are so important.  Furthermore, Obamacare prohibits excluding coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. Thus, the ACA makes insurance more affordable for many of these entrepreneurs.

But, for those not getting the subsidies due to income restrictions – i.e. upper and upper middle- income wage earners, the choice is a stark one. They can follow their passion and start a business… or they can stay put on their current job, playing it safe and keeping health insurance.

This is not a choice entrepreneurs in other developed nations face, a competitive advantage for them. These nations have single payer, expanded Medicare to cover all or something like it.

The Commonwealth Fund recently (7-17) did an analysis of health care in 11 wealthy nations, all having full coverage except the USA. All were much less expensive than our country and had significantly better mortality and morbidity. For example, our cost per capita is over $9,000 annually. Italy is one-third that figure.

Short-term, the ACA is needed to help both entrepreneurs and others. And, the majority of Americans support it.

But, long-term we must have a comprehensive national health plan to control expenses while providing care for all citizens, creating high quality jobs for Americans as a result. Polls have shown that more and more Americans are coming to this point of view. Detailed information regarding Medicare for All, including funding specific sources, can be found on the website of Physicians for a National Health Plan at www.pnhp.org.

Interestingly, Trump was all for single payer decades ago, advocating for it frequently both in interviews and in writing. He even said during the campaign that it would be the best option if we were starting from scratch here.

Mr. President, are you now saying that you are unwilling to fight the entrenched drug and insurance interests and their lobbyists? What happened to draining the swamp?

Mr. President, with 12 percent of our population still uncovered – up from 9 percent because of health insurance market instability... purposefully created by you and Congress –  including many budding entrepreneurs, single payer is still the best option for both better health results and long-term small business job creation. Furthermore, with expansion of insurance will come the creation of more good paying jobs in the health care sector and related support services.

If you are really interested in job creation, and I believe that you are, it is past time to have Medicare for All in America.
 
Jack Bernard of Fayette County, a retired corporate executive, was a two-term county commissioner and former county Republican Party chairman in Jasper County.