ABL Members Opt for “Single Payer” healthcare system

Over the past two weeks we asked both our ABL Healthcare and Technology Members to “set politics aside” and respond to our all-Member survey: “How would you prefer to see the U.S. healthcare system evolve?” While the 86% of our survey respondents* were Healthcare Round Table Members, as health-benefit-paying-employers, we’ve included our Tech Members’ tallies – and their thoughtful responses, too. Surprisingly, “Single Payer” tied with “Other” as the plurality favored response, with 33% of the total votes received from both our Healthcare and Tech Members. “Continue as it is today (under ACA)” garnered 19% of the total votes, and “100% consumer driven (no 3rd party payers)” trailed with 14% of the votes cast.

However, while the same 33% of Health and Tech Members agreed that “Single Payer” was the best solution, 45% of the Tech Members opted for “Other” – with only 33% of the Healthcare Members so responding, 22% of the Technologists preferred “Continuing as is” – with only 17% of the Health execs so voting; and none of our Tech Members wanted a “100% consumer” approach, while 17% of the Healthcare Members would prefer it. With no clear consensus among our surveyed Members on what the healthcare system should look like, little wonder Congress is having its challenges getting its members to agree on if and how to “repeal, replace, or revise” our current healthcare system!

While technically “Single Payer” and “Other” were tied in the voting, with an aggregated 33% each, fully 45% (ten) of the accompanying 22 comments associated with “Other” were relative to a Single Payer system, perhaps best summarized by this comment: “Healthcare has become a right or entitlement in the U.S. Government is the only legitimate organization that can provide rights. It is not what I would have hoped for, but it is an honest view of reality. While I do not really like the idea of single payer, I think that the US Healthcare system has become so broken that I see no other way to fix it. With most of the world on some form of single payer for basic healthcare, the US essentially is subsidizing these other systems through its payments to Big Pharma/Medical.”

Every Member who checked “Other” in the survey left a comment, many of which were about . . . EXPANSIONS ON THE THEME OF SINGLE PAYER –

– “Two tier system, with basic level of coverage for everyone as the first tier. First tier paid for by employer, if employed, and government, for those without an employer. Everyone has the ability to buy up into higher levels of coverage.”
– “Two types of standardized plans for each age/sex/group, a catastrophic and non-catastrophic. Insurers can continue to offer more comprehensive plans as well. The federal single payer program should allow the same rules as the private market, and exist on their own premium collections, except for a start-up loan financed by the feds.”
– “Reduce role for insurers by narrowing individual mandate for ALL Americans to buy catastrophic insurance (with government subsidization of catastrophic insurance coverage for poorest Americans). Decouple health insurance and employment by reducing tax deductibility for employer health expenses forcing more of economic burden onto employed Americans.”
– “Single payer with the understanding that they would encourage community based healthcare models.”
– “Perhaps a single payer, although I would be concerned about the government being that involved.”
– “. . .a hybrid of single payer voucher for hospital care (Part A) and HSA for part B. Under the system, patients would be required to ‘pay’ for care – even the low income earners paying as little ‘copay’ as a $1.”
– “An optional single payer plan for all and no employer mandate. The insurance premiums should be paid 100% by the consumer. . .and not through their employers. . .Pricing is variable by region based on each region’s CPI. . .regulated at the federal level, instead of the state.”
– “Single catastrophic payer.”

Additional “Other” comments reflecting what the U.S. healthcare system needs to improve are thematically categorized here . . .

While on the one hand, such a range of opinions from industry insiders might be startling, I’m reminded of a favorite quote from Walter Lippmann, “When everyone thinks alike, no one thinks very much.” Obviously our Members are thinking, but. . . it’s complicated!

*Of the 65 survey respondents, 54 (86%) are ABL Healthcare Round Table Members; 9 (14%) respondents belong to our Technology Groups. All ABL Members must be the CEO, President, or Division General Manager of their respective company to qualify for Membership.