Just Good Business

February 5, 2012 by
Filed under: Economy, Health Care 

Imagine that you are the CEO of a company that has 50,000 employees with a 15 billion dollar budget. Your safety record has not been good, and you are looking to improve it. You have three options:

  • Current: Keep the current option and spend 17.4 percent or $2.6 billion on safety. With this option, 50 employees will die in workplace accidents.
  • Option ACA: Spend the same amount as the previous option, but improved procedures would reduce the number of workplace deaths to 23 people.
  • Option SP: Improve procedures and spend only 12 percent or $1.8 billion on safety. There would be no deaths from workplace accidents.
Table 1: Safety options
Options Percent of budget for safety Annual amount spent on safety Workplace deaths
Current 17.4% $2.6 billion 50
Option ACA 17.4% $2.6 billion 23
Option SP 12.0% $1.8 billion 0

The obvious choice is Option SP, which is just good business.

When the numbers are adjusted, the above describes the current health care situation in the United States. The budget becomes the Gross Domestic Product of the United States, $15 trillion. Plug in the amount of GDP the U.S. spends on health care, 17.4 percent, which is the highest of any nation. The next highest amount is 12 percent. Then:

  • Currently, 50 million people lack health insurance, which will cause about 50,000 deaths.
  • The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Affordable Care Act would leave 23 million people uninsured. This would cause about 23,000 deaths.
  • There would be zero deaths due to lack of insurance.
Table 2: Health care costs and estimates of uninsured deaths
Options Percent of GDP spent on health care Annual amount spent on health care (actual or estimated) Uninsured deaths caused by lack of health insurance
Current 17.4% $2.6 trillion 50,000
ACA 17.4% $2.6 trillion 23,000 (when ACA fully implemented)
Single-payer 12.0% $1.8 trillion 0

A single-payer system would cover everybody at less cost. The savings would be $800 million more than the other options, and no lives would be loss.

Single-payer is just good business.


One Comment on Just Good Business

  1. John Clark on Wed, 8th Feb 2012 5:34 pm
  2. The sad aspect to this is major interests believe it is more important to ‘protect our free market system’ than to improve people’s health. Maybe we should create a public place to track each individual death resulting form our current healthcare system as is being done with the U.S. debt.

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