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Opinion | ‘Medicare for All’ would hurt Michigan businesses

Brian Calley
Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan. (Courtesy photo)

In my career I have been a small business lender, the lieutenant governor of Michigan and now the president of the Small Business Association of Michigan. In each of those roles, I have worked to create a better environment of success for small businesses across this state.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of Michigan’s economy, and our members have a better knowledge of what drives our economy than anyone else. Having weathered substantial challenges and obstacles over the years, the small business community is particularly attuned to government mandates that oftentimes threaten their very survival. Health care is one of the biggest costs our members must manage, and we view “Medicare for All” as a storm cloud on the horizon.

 It is imperative that we protect the choice of small business owners to provide benefits and compensation negotiated between them and their employees. We should not force them into a “one size fits all” government system that would reduce access to care, increase wait times, and raise taxes.

 The drastic changes to our current health care system currently under consideration by some congressional leaders and presidential candidates are extremely concerning. Medicare for All is a simple enough idea for a soundbite, but reforming our health care system is anything but simple. With small business employees accounting for about half of all of Michigan’s workforce, protecting the health care choices of our members is of vital importance. Members of the Small Business Association of Michigan have worked diligently to provide their employees with the coverage that best suits their families’ needs – not the needs of political soundbites and commercials. A one-size-fits-all government health care system would be disruptive and harmful to all the people that are currently satisfied and well-served by employer sponsored insurance.

Drilling deeper into the Medicare for All proposal shows that it will significantly increase taxes and end up costing business owners a fortune with no promise of better care. Additionally, it would eliminate the personal choice in coverage and benefits our hardworking members and their families currently have, in favor of a health care system run by politicians risking longer wait times, a much lower quality of care, and unfamiliar coverage that may not suit their individual needs. Such a radical system would eliminate private health insurance companies entirely, disrupting individuals that are satisfied with their current choice in coverage. It is essential we protect the choice in policies and health care coverage they have worked so hard for.

 It is undeniable that the current health care system has problems, and for small businesses, many of the problems are directly connected to the last time the government tried to “help.” Clearly the answer is not starting over from scratch with a system that removes personal choice from our small business members and families in favor of a system dictated by politicians. We should honor and secure and fully fund our current commitment to Medicare before thinking about expanding it -- and certainly without eliminating the freedom our citizens to choose or negotiate the coverage they want.

 Small business growth drives a thriving economy for all workers and employers, and it is essential to our state and the success of our small businesses that we avoid a one-size-fits-all government health care system. Let’s continue to work together and build on what’s working instead of putting the government in control of the health and well-being of our families.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission. If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact Ron French. Click here for details and submission guidelines.

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