Just Good Business

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.

2 thoughts on “Just Good Business

  1. 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.

  2. Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program () The pmrraiy author of this book is a Professor of Economics at MIT and was on the team that helped develop the model for health care reform in Massachusetts, so he has more than a little credibility on the subject .in fact, he is an expert. In this book he explains, in relatively simple language, the facts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which was passed by Congress several years ago and which is scheduled to be in full effect by 2014.At first I was a little taken aback when I opened the book and discovered it had been written in a comic book format, but as I read on, I realized that the author was doing a great job of explaining how all of this works and was doing so in a simple fashion that was easy to understand. He works to piece together all of the various parts of the law into a seamless story, and along the way he debunks many of the myths about the Act, such as death panels and other fear mongering political stunts that were used to confuse people. When broken down in this way, it turns out the law is fairly simple to understand.The author takes a bipartisan look at the law and points out that many of the provision were things that conservatives have been trying to pass into law for years. He also does a great job of explaining why you cannot take out individual provisions from the law without reducing, if not outright defeating, the ultimate goals of the law.The two downsides I see to this book are the comic format, which may turn people off, and the simple nature of the explanation. While hitting all the high notes, some people may believe it is impossible to truly present a 2,000 page law adequately in this short of a space and in such simple language.I would highly recommend this book to all. There is a lot of confusion about the new law, and this will help people understand it. In addition the author discusses the reason the law in needed and how it will help individuals and companies. I doubt that people who are dead set against the law will be persuaded, but they might learn a lot from this simple comic book.

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