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CBO on Single Payer Benefits to the Economy

Summary: The Congressional Budget Office just released a powerful report, highlighting multiple ways in which single payer would strengthen the economy. That’s right, not just health, but also general economic productivity and well-being. Efficiently financed universal health care improves health and reduces financial burdens, boosting economic performance.

Economic Effects of Five Illustrative Single-Payer Health Care Systems
Congressional Budget Office
February 2022
By Jaeger Nelson, with assistance of CBO Staff

This paper builds on previous studies published by the Congressional Budget Office about single-payer health care systems.

We analyze six channels through which a single-payer system would affect the economy:

* The composition of workers’ labor compensation would change because employers would no longer provide health care benefits and would pass along the savings to employees, increasing their taxable wages.

* Households’ health insurance premiums would be eliminated, and their out-of-pocket (OOP) health care costs would decline.

* Administrative expenses in the health care sector would decline, freeing up productive resources for other sectors and ultimately increasing economywide productivity.

* Reduced payment rates to providers would increase productivity and efficiency in providing health care; however, some of the reduction in payment rates would be passed through to workers’ wages in the health care sector and throughout the supply chain.

* Longevity and labor productivity would increase as people’s health outcomes improved.

* [Long-term care] benefits would further reduce OOP spending, provide payments for care that is currently unpaid, increase wages among workers providing care, and allow some unpaid caregivers to increase their hours worked at their primary occupation.

[W]orkers would choose to work fewer hours, on average, despite higher wages because the reduction in health insurance premiums and OOP expenses would generate a positive wealth effect that allowed households to spend their time on activities other than paid work and maintain the same standard of living.

Moreover, that wealth effect would boost households’ disposable income … Although hours worked per capita would decline, … under most policy specifications [there would be] an increase in economywide productivity, an increase in the size of the labor force, an increase in the average worker’s labor productivity, and a rise in the capital stock. … nonhealth consumption per capita would rise by about 11.5 percent by 2030.

Pigs fly! CBO admits Medicare for All will aid people, businesses, economy
Medium
February 25, 2022
By Ira Dember

  • BIGGER PAYCHECKS. “…employers would no longer provide health care benefits and would pass along the savings to employees, increasing their taxable wages.”
  • NO PREMIUMS. “…health insurance premiums would be eliminated, and [families’ out-of-pocket] health care costs would decline.”
  • LESS WASTE. “Administrative expenses in the health care sector would decline, freeing up productive resources for other sectors and ultimately increasing economywide productivity.”
  • LOWER COST. “Reduced payment rates to providers would increase productivity and efficiency in providing health care…”
  • LIVE LONGER. “Longevity and [economywide] labor productivity would increase as people’s health outcomes improved.”

The Government Just Admitted An Inconvenient Truth
The Daily Poster
February 25, 2022
By David Sirota and Aditi Ramaswami

Every now and then, federal officials admit some truths that are inconvenient to the corporations that own the government — and this latest admission is pretty explicit: Scrapping corporate health care and creating a government-sponsored medical system would boost the economy, help workers, and increase longevity.

Those are just some of the findings from the Republican-led Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in a new report that implicitly tells lawmakers just how the existing corporate-run health care system is immiserating millions of Americans — and how a Medicare for All-style system could quickly fix the catastrophe.

Comment by Don McCanne & Jim Kahn

It is consistently stunning to us that political forces in our country do not coalesce around single payer, since it would provide equitable, comprehensive health care for all of us while saving money. Congress and the President apparently do not believe that it is their responsibility to ensure our health.

So, just what purpose do these politicians believe they serve? We frequently hear them advocate for helping the economy. Well, now they can read this report from Congress’s own economic advisory body, the Congressional Budget Office, to see that ensuring health will also help the economy.

The CBO says that a single payer system will reduce the economic burden of health care on families and employers; eliminate administrative waste and put those funds to productive use; increase disposable income, elective consumption, and savings; and raise productivity through better health, among other benefits. All that while fixing our broken health care system.

We link to two excellent op-eds about this powerful new analysis. This is very important news.

Congress has the report in hand, and they should use it. The President can jump on the bandwagon.

Better health, better economy. A twofer.

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