Economic analysis reveals Ohio can't afford to wait on universal, publicly financed health care system

December 04, 2018

State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) announced House Bill (HB) 440, legislation to establish a single-payer healthcare plan to universally cover medical, dental and vision services, will receive its second committee hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, December 5 at 9:30 a.m. in House Insurance Committee. This is the first universal health care coverage bill to have a second hearing since the 125th General Assembly.

“Healthcare prices are rapidly increasing in Ohio. Wages are going nowhere. Ohioans have to spend a greater percentage of their hard-earned money on healthcare. That’s not freedom,” said Fedor. “Expensive medical bills can be the difference between bankruptcy and the American Dream of retirement, home ownership, sending a kid to college, or starting a family.”

Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, will provide sponsor testimony during committee detailing his research titled Economic Analysis of Single Payer Health Care in Ohio: Context, Savings, Costs, Financing. The exhaustive economic analysis reveals significant waste currently in Ohio’s health care system, how to eliminate that waste, and how efficiency can lead to significant savings for Ohioans while covering all citizens.

“Among economists, the debate is over: the best way to finance health care is with a universal public system,” said Friedman. “A universal publicly financed health care insurance system could save Ohio nearly $40 billion, enough to provide access to health care for everyone with $25 billion left over. Ohio can lead the way to a better and cheaper system. What are we waiting for?”

Additionally, Friedman’s analysis reveals that HB 440 will increase disposable income for 95 percent of Ohioans, with most individuals saving an average of $2,300 in the first year of implementation. He says this is amplified when factoring the role medical bills have played in bankruptcy and debt, burdening both families and the broader financial system. Ohio has 20,000 bankruptcies per year due to medical bills, hitting seniors the hardest with 60 percent of bankruptcies among older adults. In 35 percent of those bankruptcies, medical bills came to over $5,000— or over 10 percent of family income.

Friedman adds that individuals and businesses in Ohio would save $25 billion. The analysis also estimates a 5-6 percent increase in employment— approximately 260,000-325,000 new jobs— as guaranteed access to health care will increase entrepreneurship, alleviate workers from job lock, and guarantee reimbursement for medical practitioners.

Debbie Silverstein, executive director of Single Payer Action Network (SPAN) Ohio, will also provide sponsor testimony on HB 440.

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the ultimate marketplace reform, but it still left almost 30 million Americans uninsured and at least that many underinsured,” said Silverstein. “Costs are still too high and Ohioans have learned that insurance does not guarantee affordable care. It is time to go in another direction and learn from those who do it better and cheaper.”

“Ohioans work hard, but they’re health care isn’t working for them,” added Fedor. “HB 440 would bring healthcare freedom to hard working Ohioans. It would be an economic game changer for our state.”

Bullet Points for Legislators

  • Single Payer saves money.  For the past 20 years, states have commissioned studies on different types of health care systems.   In EVERY case, single payer was shown to be the only way to cover everyone and the only system that saved money and controlled costs.

  • Publicly financed does not mean government run health care.  YOU have publicly financed health coverage, but the government does not make decisions regarding your health care.

  • Cost conscious patients often don't get the care they need.   Most decisions are made by the doctor in concert with the patient, but the patient relies on the doctor's knowledge to make a decision.  Expensive tests and treatments cannot be ordered by the patient, only the doctor.

  • Lifestyle choices are not what is fueling high costs in health care.   The United States ranks low in general health indicators, but high in good health habits.  We smoke less, drink less and consume less animal fat that many other countries with better health indicators and much lower health care costs.

  • Businesses can accurately determine their health care costs and are not subject to unanticipated large premium increases.

  • It will reduce labor costs due to a more efficient way of financing health care, eliminating much wasteful administration.

  • Workers' Compensation costs will be reduced, likely by half, due to the fact that everyone has health coverage and there is no need for the medical portion.

  • It reduces the need for part time employees and provides easier recruiting.  There are no pre-existing conditions or Cobra issues.

  • Eliminates the oversight of health benefits and bargaining health coverage with employees.

  • It creates healthier personnel and more stable employees, reduces absenteeism and eliminates employer health coverage complaints.

  • It reduces employee health related debt and personal bankruptcies.

  • It frees up family income that can be spent on other goods and services, thus stimulating the economy.

Tips for Writing Letters to Editor

Follow guidelines for your local paper (word count, submission instructions, etc.)

Frame your letter in relation to a recent news item Use state specific data whenever possible (let us know if you need help finding some!)

Address counter arguments

Be aware of your audience and emphasize how Medicare for All is good for ALL residents of the state

Criticize other positions, not people Include your credentials (especially if you work in the healthcare field)

Avoid jargon and abbreviations

Don’t overload on statistics and minor details

Cover only one or two points in a single letter

Avoid rambling and vagueness

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