How Healthcare Reform Helps Business (And Everyone Else)

Healthcare reform is good for everyone. Well, not for insurance company CEOs, but for the rest of us–the insured, the uninsured, business owners, the federal government itself–it’s good. Have a look at this Obama administration video showing its expected benefits. Still, fear and opposition surround it. Mostly the fear is a diffuse sense that the bill is bad because people have said so, but when it comes down to specifics, it’s probably something to do with money. It will bankrupt insurance companies. It will increase the national debt, even though it actually saves over $100 billion. It will somehow make things harder for small businesses (when in doubt, say “small businesses”–works every time). It includes a force of 16,500 new IRS agents (seriously, just no). And then it comes down to dithering about whether the CBO figure is accurate and whether the influx of formerly-uninsured healthy people will offset the people with preexisting conditions who can no longer be denied coverage.

The dithering and the details are irrelevant. The bill will be good for business and it will be good for the economy, and it would be even if it didn’t provide small-business tax breaks and other economic incentives. Why? Because it will make the populace healthier, and a nation of healthy people is stronger than a nation of sick ones.  It’s better for everyone.  Rising tides and all that.

When the populace benefits, the economy benefits.  Healthy people make better employees and better consumers.  The measure mandating free preventative care is key here.  People on a budget may shirk preventative care and play the odds, but this can end up costing employers (as well as, obviously, the people themselves) in sick days and disability, in employees who leave their jobs due to health problems, and in the lost productivity of employees who develop chronic conditions that preventative medicine could have avoided.  But businesses really benefit from the increased consumption.  After all, healthier people are more willing and able to eat out, play golf, go to Hawaii, water ski, and otherwise spend money.  Plus, they’re more likely to spend their disposable income if they know that, should they get sick, they won’t be suddenly bankrupted.  Healthy people, and people who are secure about their health, are more likely to take risks like starting a business.  Everybody wins when the health of the populace improves.

The specific provisions, with their taxes and rebates, might or might not help businesses, but their effects will be small compared to the overall effect of the bill.  The main effect of improving America’s healthcare system will be to improve people’s health.  And that’s a good thing.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “How Healthcare Reform Helps Business (And Everyone Else)

  1. bryce1618

    I’m not picking any threads apart which you just laid, but what of people with a conscionable opposition to the bill as it is, particularly in its lack of abortion prohibiting language and conscience protection clauses? Unless that’s been changed when I wasn’t looking, which would be great.

    • katz

      I hadn’t been paying particular attention to that issue; Obama did sign an executive order extending the Hyde amendment to the bill, which is enough to make NOW angry. But if you’ve studied the bill and the executive order and found the provisions insufficient, then yes, that would be reasonable grounds for opposing it.

      I should think that it would be more productive to try to strengthen the language of the Hyde amendment (itself admittedly rather touch-and-go, since it’s an amendment rather than a proper law) rather than trying to get rid of the entire bill, since the bill itself will save a lot of lives and it seems like anyone pro-life should support that, but that’s personal opinion.

      • bryce1618

        Okay, well, NOW gets angry over everything. NOW aside (were they ever in the way?), I did notice that all 200-or-so of the representatives who refused to allow the Stupak amendment language be put in the bill were fine with it in an executive order; I, based on what I know from high school civics, call bullshit on the executive order, because the executive branch cannot write law, and only a “very great fool,” as Vizzinni would say, would believe Obama is even the least sincere. He is either a very great idiot (which I do not believe he is) or he’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes; or at least trying to give some sort of pretense for Stupak’s, well, pulling a stupak.

        I would love for there to be a bill that plainly states abortion cannot ever be funded by the government, federal or state. Why this hasn’t been accomplished by any of the Republican-controlled congresses makes me very mad at Republicans for their inability to accomplish what they say they would (we’ll grant that I’m angry at the Democrats by default).

        *sigh* I hear Malta is a nice place to live…

        PS. I’ll note I am in generally in favor of healthcare reform; just not the kind that includes my money funding murder.

      • katz

        *shrug* Well, you should follow the dictates of your conscience, then (I was counting making NOW angry as a good thing, btw).

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