Massachusetts Chooses a Governor: Implications for Us All

The Huffington Post has the interview with Don Berwick Massachusetts Chooses a Governor: Implications for Us All by David Katz, M.D., Director, Yale Prevention Research Center.

Dr. Berwick has himself been a beacon for those of us involved in efforts to reduce the toll of chronic disease. He is credited with developing models of chronic disease care that also save lives and dollars, blending the best of evidence, pragmatism, and humanism. Dr. Berwick’s prominence took him to the helm of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where his efforts, short-lived though they proved to be, garnered widespread admiration among health care professionals.
Question 5: What kind of impact will single-payer have on the economy?

In my travels across Massachusetts, business owners generally don’t talk about taxes or regulations as barriers — instead, they tell me how spiraling health care costs are ruining their competitive edge. Workers, likewise, have seen wages remain stagnant over the past decade as health care eats up larger and larger slices of paychecks. Medicare for all will save both employers and individuals money by replacing the rising and unpredictable costs of private health plans with a small payroll tax to finance health care. The savings come from decreasing the complexity of the payment system, and from a stronger voice for patients and families. Businesses will no longer have to manage the complexity of arranging for health care coverage for their employees; and employers and employees will no longer waste long hours and dollars navigating complex benefit structures to determine what a specific plan will cover and what it will not.

Lower costs will free up resources for businesses to innovate and pay their workers well. Firms will also benefit from the certainty of knowing what they will pay for health care in advance. The result in Massachusetts will be a more attractive climate for businesses to locate in and grow.

Having Don Berwick as Massachusetts Governor may be our  chance to do something really innovative.  Of course, there is no telling from this vantage point if he can be successful, but he has ideas that no leading politician is talking about.

Employer funded health care is just an accident of inflation control policies of World War II.  It makes no sense for the employer nor the employee.  Here is a good chance to fix this historical accident.

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