Opinion | ‘Medicare for All’ would hurt Michigan businesses

Brian Calley

Former lieutenant governor Brian Calley argues that politicians should stop messing with the health care system because it will hurt Michigan small businesses.

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.

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Mon, 08/19/2019 - 7:54am

Ref. the headline "Medicaid for All". The writer and editor might be excused for missing a typo buried in the text of a story. It's another when the typo is front and center in the headline. When Bridge misses that, readers are right to wonder if the article has more serious problems, such as regards its accuracy and completeness.

Doug Baier
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 9:07am

Can anyone tell me why we should tolerate and absorb annual double-digit percentage increases in our health care premiums yet oppose Medicare-For-All because it would raise taxes?

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 12:28am

Don't ask common sense questions, they hate when you do that...

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 12:24pm

Yes. Thank you.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 9:15am

Brian Calley is neither a licensed medical provider nor a credentialed public health professional of any sort. He has no formal education or training in health care services, policy or management. Brian Calley is a lobbyist, and nothing more. Lobbyists should stop messing with the health care system because it will hurt Michiganders.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:23am

You are right! So why would you want political animals Bernie, Kamela, et al, (not to mention Medicare & Medicaid), designing the medical system in the first place?

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:57am

You mean political "animals" like Bernie who have support from doctors, nurses and other health professionals, the ones actually doing the work? Most health professionals want Private Insurers OUT of healthcare completely. Also, the pursuit for a single payer system that universally covers every American has been a pursuit for decades. It's nothing new, and neither are the arguments against it, but under the current private system, those who profit get theirs at the end of the day. Meanwhile millions of Americans are uninsured, millions of Americans are underinsured, millions of Americans that are covered "have" insurance, but do not love it. Healthcare Reform is necessary and if we can sever that tie with that leech (Private Health Insurers), according to Warren Buffet, the better our economy will run.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 7:20pm

You think that all medical professionals all support your medicaid for all? And certainly docs dentists etc all hate and love to kavitch about insurance companies, of course that would have nothing to do with them not being willing to pay them for what ever treatments they want to "try out" on a patient (and of course fund the huge pay checks so prevalent in the medical industry)? Simply stated the reimbursement rate on Medicare/medicaid won't come close to carrying the burden to support these paychecks! Most medical providers when asked will admit that without private insurance companies they wouldn't make a fraction of their current pay. Can't wait to watch how this plays out!

Frank Koob
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 9:21am

Any business that employs any person or persons should be required to provide a certain and adequate level of healthcare to each employee. Business owners should not have the choice of doing this or not doing this. If they can't afford to have employees they shouldn't have any. Money that business spends on good health of their employees should be there along with the money business spends by giving salaries to employees so that they can have proper housing, proper food, proper child care and a decent American way of life. If they can't support their employees in all of these ways, simply they either have a bad business plan or they should not be in business. This should be true if there is no government money to support employee health care. It should also be true if the government decides to pay some or all of the employees and their families' Health Care.

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 8:36am

Why should insurance be tied to your job? Should your employer also be required to pay for your educational expenses? Rent? Groceries? Clothing? Why not?

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 12:26pm

Please Google 'False Equivalency'...

Craig Reynolds
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 8:46pm

Lots of employers escape that sense of responsibility by flaunting the outrageous premiums the State (at least in Michigan) requires them to pay for Worker's Compensation Insurance. Of course that coverage has nothing to do with the rotten lousy cold you or the wife or the kids got. And then with the presence of Unions being hammered toward inconsequence under the conservative flag of "Right to Work", the admonishment by the Establishment has been, just survive till Medicare - and then you'll be able to survive perhaps merely impoverished instead of completely destitute. For anyone dismissing this as merely another rant by an ignorant liberal, please first examine the annual reports for insurance companies playing in the health care coverage field and then look over ANY BC/BS "Explanation of Benefits" statement for any subscriber to see the difference between "Amount Billed" and "Amount Allowed", followed by the payment amounts to come from BC/BS and the participant. The first question that explodes out of these numbers is, What in the goddam friggin' hell is actually going on here???????????????? Then try asking how and why those insurance companies are profiting off the paper they sell to employers and
individuals - are they working for their stockholders or their "customers"? Damn silly question in these latter days of the Great American Coroptacracy.

Stunned and Amazed
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 10:41pm

The purpose and duty of business is to make a profit. Not to be a social service agency and/or provide health insurance, child care, or the myriad other benefits to employees or even owners. Those are secondary things that come only after a profit is made and there is no way in the world that any business could sustain that for long. The marketplace both local and internationally would soon replace that business with something that is much more efficient. It's very clear you've never owned or run a business before and have no clue what a well run business should look like, nor should you have any say in how privately owned and run businesses should be run. Exactly what you are describing already happened in Venezuela, and it's not benefiting anyone except the Communist Party.

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 7:04pm

I disagree with Frank on businesses providing health insurance. A living wage: Yes, but not health insurance. It was only by a quirk, a loophole in Federal law actually, that the U.S. has employer provided health insurance and is the only country to do so. (The law was part of war-time wage controls. Companies couldn't offer a higher wage to attract desired employees so they started adding Health Insurance to their wages or salaries. Later it became law that companies of a certain size provide this.)
I think it's better to have all citizens in the same pool of insured people.

Sat, 08/24/2019 - 7:37am

I disagree with Frank on businesses providing health insurance. A living wage: Yes, but not health insurance. It was only by a quirk, a loophole in Federal law actually, that the U.S. has employer provided health insurance and is the only country to do so. (The law was part of war-time wage controls. Companies couldn't offer a higher wage to attract desired employees so they started adding Health Insurance to their wages or salaries. Later it became law that companies of a certain size provide this.)
I think it's better to have all citizens in the same pool of insured people.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:22am

Medicare for All is a scary thing if it is anything like Obamacare. A friend had an Obamacare policy, but it was essentially useless with a $7,000 deductible. On an income of around $30,000, the deductible means don't go to any doctor. Yes, the premium may be subsidized by the government, but the deductible isn't.

It would be better to look at the medical models used in other countries. I was in an accident in another country, and my bill for ER service was in the low 3 digit euros. But all the US lobbyists and insurance executives would not like it if they were all put out of business.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 2:24pm

Medicare is not anything like Obamacare. Do a little research. I'm on Medicare. Pay 154 a month and that includes dental. Co pays are almost nothing. And deductible is 1000 for hospital only. Doctor is just $10 copay

Mike S.
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 12:38pm

Cc - Your costs are not that low because it is a cheaper system, they are that low because you are being subsidized by the millions of working Americans. I'm not on Medicare, but its still deducted from my gross pay on my paycheck!

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 4:03pm

Yup, that’s exactly what Medicare for All is. It would close all the gaps in Medicare, and expand it to all, meaning no premiums, copays, or deductibles. The models in the European countries is exactly what Medicare for All is attempting to achieve.

Average Joe
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:31am

All smoke and mirrors to rile up the conservative base. Yes, it would be "a tax increase" because Medicare for All would be a new tax. But the cost of the "new" tax will be lower than what is currently being paid by employers for health care as well as what the employees pay for their coverage.

The "we've never done it this way before" argument is getting really old. If every other major first-world country in the world has healthcare coverage figured out, so can we.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:35am

Funny isn't it that people are always in favor of a thing when they estimate that they'll get more out of it than what they pay into it and always against things when that figure they pay more that they get out. (social security and medicare!!!) If it was break even they'll either figure why bother or they'll whine to politicians until it comes more over to their favor. Doesn't matter whether theyre rich or poor. Maybe this is the problem with all government programs?

Cardi B
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:06am

Mr. Calley, you lost the election because you don't get it. Like President Trump, you think everything is about you. When you were in power, you expanded healthcare coverage for children with autism because you have a child with autism. That was great, but at the same time, your government reduced funding for children with learning disabilities, like dyslexia. People should not be forced to stay in a dead-end low-paying job because they need the healthcare benefits, however bad that coverage may be, enjoying only what their particular boss deems adequate. We should have Medicare for ALL to liberate employees so that they can start their own business without the worries of losing everything (savings, house, pension, etc.) if they get sick. Yes, taxes will go up with Medicare for All, but premiums, deductibles, copays, medication prices, etc. will DISAPPEAR. Now Americans are so afraid to get routine care, so they often use the costly emergency room for treatment. Moreover with Medicare for All, Americans will be able to sleep at night. Yes, they will still say their bedtime prayers, but they won't be praying to die quickly if they or their family members get sick. We pay more for healthcare in the US, with poorer coverage, than every other industrialized country. Bernie does a great job explaining this to Cardi B:

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:39am

Calley is a repub and totally wanting the insurance companies to get their billions if profit iff our healthcare. Iur health should not be for profit--- not ins and not hospitals

Kevin Grand
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:46am

"If you like you plan/doctor...Americans will realize a savings of $2,500/yr".

Yeah, and just look at how well that scam worked when Pres. B.O. was peddling Obamacare.

Speaking of peddling unsustainable shakedowns, I'd love to hear about Mr. Calley's opposition to Snyderrcaid?

I understand that its numbers (and costs) are still going up.

Did he even speak out against THAT before its implementation?

I call BS
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 3:01pm

Is THAT all you got? LOL Same old Republican talking points.

Didn't Trump and all the Republicans promise us a better, cheaper plan? Did you forget those hundreds of outright LIES? If the Republicans didn't undermine and sabotage Obamacare every step of the way, Obamacare would have been much better than it is. If you noticed in the last election, voters wanted to protect and expand Obamacare, just the opposite of the Republicans who are greedy and cruel. We don't need private for-profit insurance, we need healthcare. Why do we have to have a middleman who's corporate mission is to deny coverage? All these years since Obamacare and with Republicans in complete control of the government, we still haven't seen the promised better plan.

Remember these promises unkept:

Instead, Trump took away the mandate penalties and weakened Obamacare. Republicans want to take away protections for preexisting conditions. Mr. Calley probably wouldn't like that for his family, especially as a business owner who could end up with no healthcare insurance when no insurance companies want to cover his child's autism, family member's cancer, pregnancy, etc. Just wait how much employee benefits (healthcare or otherwise) will be available in the coming Trump imposed Republican recession. If you haven't noticed a lot of people in their 50's are losing their automotive related jobs and all their "benefits". No one is immune. Many Democrats are Republicans who have been kicked to the curb and finally realized that "me first" is inhumane. Ask Arianna Huffington.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:47am

"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."

What about the people who are not satisfied with their employer sponsored insurance or don't have it at all because small businesses can opt-out of giving insurance options to their employees and tell them to go to the marketplace? How about the employees who fall into the wage gap where they get no tax credits to help purchase insurance but also don't make enough to pay for the insurance plans available? Wouldn't a universal system make it easier for small employers because they wouldn't have to worry about providing a benefit to their employees and let a different agency take care it for them? Just some questions to consider when only some people are benefitting while others are struggling.

Also, one thing to note, if a business doesn't have to pay for insurance anymore but now has to pay a tax in its place, I'm sure the business will save money overall. As someone who has dealt with pricing for small businesses, I can guarantee the tax will be much cheaper than rates per individual/family when it comes to insurance.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:29pm

Typical talking points from Calley, not much new here. My responses:

Only 55% of small businesses offer health insurance, so Mr. Calley is really referring to the choice of them NOT to offer coverage at all more so than choosing the correct plans for their employees. (https://healthpayerintelligence.com/news/about-90-of-large-mid-size-empl...)
If you look at who likes the health care system the most, it's veterans and seniors, the people with the most heavily subsidized public plans who like the health care system the most. (https://news.gallup.com/poll/186527/americans-government-health-plans-sa...)
Taxes will go up, but premiums, copays, and deductibles will be eliminated so it'll be a wash for people financially. The number one complaint that people with private health insurance have is the high deductibles which makes them unusable, Medicare for All would end that issue.
I don't think employers look for plans that best suit their employees needs, what they do is buy coverage as an incentive for the employees never to leave so even if they could make more money working at another small business, they stick with their current jobs because they offer benefits. Small businesses buy plans that best suit THEIR needs, not their employees needs. This isn't to say that employers don't do right by their employees, but to say this is always an altruistic goal is false.
The employer based system of health care is terrible and employers shouldn't be expected to offer care. It creates a two-tiered system where some people get coverage and some don't. For those that don't, their wait times are infinity as they simply forego necessary care. I'm all for people working, but it's stupid to continue the employer sponsored system.
Why do small businesses even WANT to continue to have to offer coverage? Wouldn't the administrative savings of not having to deal with it be better?

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:50pm

it would hurt the state of Michigan because hundreds of health insurance Company that resides in Michigan with all disappear

Paul Jordan
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 1:18pm

Brian Calley didn't seem to mind politicians messing with insurance when they were attacking no fault insurance's medical coverage, did he?
Universal health insurance is not a new idea. Germany's Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck instituted it in the 1870s--not because he was a socialist, but because he knew that it was important to their economy to have a healthy work force.
Our current medical insurance system is based upon a free market model where premiums & medical fees are based on the maximum that the market will bear. As a result, costs continually rise because nobody who can pay can afford NOT to have health insurance or medical care!
This is one of those instances where a government run system can deliver the best care at the least cost to us. We need to do this.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 1:25pm

As a small business owner that has seen our insurance benefits erode steadily over time while premiums have increased I can tell you unequivocally that we are not happy with the private insurance system and we would welcome any change that would reduce our costs and the cost of our employees. I firmly believe that being able to opt into Medicare should be an option for people. If for some reason you're happy with your private insurance and like paying through the nose for it keep doing so. But let the rest of us pool our insurance risk and lower our costs. The for-profit insurance industry is never going to be economical for those that are the
supposed beneficiaries.

Cliff Yankovich
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 2:47pm

Yes. We are a small business, well micro-business (we are a mom and pop since 2002). One big reason for the increase in premiums, especially if you are insured by BC/BS of MI is the fact that the CEO of BC/BS of MI received 19.2 million dollars last year. That works out to $52,602.00 a day - 7 days a week - 365 days a year. That is one heck of a lot of premium dollars going to pay ONE MAN. Our premiums are about $1,200 a month, so it would take 43.3 of those monthly premiums to pay him for ONE DAY. It would take about 1,300 $1,200 monthly premiums to pay him for a month. That is insane. I had to wrestle for 4 months with BC/BS to get a $62.00 refund, so he is not paid that much because he runs a super-efficient organization.

Scott Brodie
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 1:51pm

When Lt. Governor Calley was in office, he was able to push through Autism coverage because his daughter has Autism. The coverage ends at age 18. I asked him at a forum why we didn't have coverage until it affected his family, and what was I supposed to do about my 19 year old daughter, who was not covered.
He said, "we got what we could".
I think Mr. Calley will only change his mind when his daughter or another family member suffers from a lack of medical insurance.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 3:28pm

I have been a small business owner for 25 years and I would love to stop paying health insurance premiums. I don't care if it' s single payer or a tax credit for suitable coverage approach - any solution that decouples health care and employment is fine with me.

Allen Wolf
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 4:46pm

Republicans had eight years of total control in Lansing and did nothing to improve health coverage or cost. Most seniors are satisfied with Medicare and they have almost total choice of providers. Seniors also have the option of purchasing additional coverage from private insurers, so there may even be a role for private insurers.

Under today’s system, large employers usually spend a fortune to provide reasonable care for their employees. The employers pay a premium because their payments in part subsidize the medical care of people without insurance. Meanwhile many small employers provide no health insurance or substandard coverage to their employees. Part time employees usually have no coverage. Healthcare coverage SHOULD NOT be tied to employment status.

Medicare for All is not starting from scratch, it is building from the current Medicare program. Whether it is paid for by employers, employees, income tax or some other means has yet to be determined. In the end, we should be able to cover everyone for no more money than we spend today only access will be more uniform and no one will face bankruptcy for unpaid medical bills.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 6:05pm

Who is actually satisfied with their coverage? If they are satisfied, have they actually used it? Most small business owners I know are deeply concerned about the cost of healthcare, and feel it puts them at a disadvantage in competing for qualified employees with larger corporations. We currently have a socialist health care system run amok. Emergency care is provided regardless of ability to pay, and we are all taxed by the providers who provide it without any representation. That is why an ER bandaid costs $11.00. When will people wake up and acknowledge that we currently have the worst socialist health care system ever now, and that it needs to change.

Shawn L.
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 8:20pm

Every other country in the world has accomplished it, but somehow it's too complex and expensive for us. Makes no sense. As a small business owner myself, Calley doesn't speak for me. Health care costs are one of my biggest unknowns every year. Removing that problem would be a massive headache gone. Calley says what he gets paid to say.

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 12:27am

Disingenuous and frankly dumb argument. Nobody is arguing the demise of private insurance companies. Canada has a state insurance and private insurance is available to, so this whole argument is propaganda to protect the insurance co. and the hospitals which charge ridiculous fees for services. Seems those on the right love to whine about Medicare for all, but they have no answer for the huge healthcare quagmire we find ourselves in. We have been waiting for the republican healthcare plan for what, a decade now?

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 12:33am

"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."

And how many people are "satisfied and well served" by employer sponsored insurance??? My guess...not many.

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 5:55am

This article provides no citations or evidence as to why small businesses would be hurt.

Yooper Jim
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:49am

Calley should be lobbying *for* Universal Healthcare. Small businesses current and future would benefit. Less direct costs for businesses who currently provide insurance. Better benefits for employees who can't or won't provide insurance. Healthier employees. Entrepreneurs could start businesses without the fear of not being able to provide insurance for themselves, their families, and their employees. Talented employees could move to better jobs without being tied to their employer based insurance, allowing businesses to attract a wider range of new hires.
I believe Universal Healthcare would be a great help to small businesses.

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 9:27am

Oh my God, that's the last thing we would ever want to do is maybe, potentially, might with no basis of fact, could possibly, perhaps somewhat temporarily hurt the business environment in MI. After all, what could be more important than business give aways, (socialism as some see it) to keep them afloat in the midst of our recent poorly constructed policies of the latest failed Republician trickle down economics fiasco. (my auto is in the repair shop again for front end work) Especially when pitted against that lowey , forgotten phase in the United States of America's constitution preamble. You remember, "Promote the health and general welfare of its people" * ie, health care. What a dastardly thought, helping tax paying people.
* My personal interpretation.

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:34am

Obamacare had it's hands tied by the courts when they forbid penalties on uninsured people who didn't buy a healthcare plan. The Republicans also built in a plan to defeat OC when they allowed kids to stay on their parents' policies until the age of 26 - infantalizing grown adults who could certainly pay something into the system. With private insurance, EVERYBODY, pays so the system won't collapse. If OC were free to follow it's on course, costs would have been lowered for buyers of plans. The only efficiency built into the private insurance systems is the ability to deny coverage for any particular procedure at any particular time. Medicare for all would have built in efficiencies because of the amount of data collection the government can do. For instance, if physicians were paid by the government, the 5% of MD's who are responsible for the 25% of unnecessary CT scans, could be sanctioned a lot easier. Private insurers didn't suss out the little town in Texas doing the majority of back surgeries in the state - it took government investigation to figure out that a ton of back surgeries were being inflicted unnecessarily on patients solely because there were so many back surgeons in town. We have thousands of MD's doing work that should be done by NP's increasing costs for everyone. We have the highest infant
mortality rates in the developed world and, I would argue that it's because we don't have enough midwives and too many obstetricians, and that's costing us a lot of money. Our system is totally irrational. If it were razed to the ground and a new paradigm were developed to serve the PATIENTS instead of the medical industrial complex, it would be cheaper and provide better outcomes for patients.

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:34am

Obamacare had it's hands tied by the courts when they forbid penalties on uninsured people who didn't buy a healthcare plan. The Republicans also built in a plan to defeat OC when they allowed kids to stay on their parents' policies until the age of 26 - infantalizing grown adults who could certainly pay something into the system. With private insurance, EVERYBODY, pays so the system won't collapse. If OC were free to follow it's on course, costs would have been lowered for buyers of plans. The only efficiency built into the private insurance systems is the ability to deny coverage for any particular procedure at any particular time. Medicare for all would have built in efficiencies because of the amount of data collection the government can do. For instance, if physicians were paid by the government, the 5% of MD's who are responsible for the 25% of unnecessary CT scans, could be sanctioned a lot easier. Private insurers didn't suss out the little town in Texas doing the majority of back surgeries in the state - it took government investigation to figure out that a ton of back surgeries were being inflicted unnecessarily on patients solely because there were so many back surgeons in town. We have thousands of MD's doing work that should be done by NP's increasing costs for everyone. We have the highest infant
mortality rates in the developed world and, I would argue that it's because we don't have enough midwives and too many obstetricians, and that's costing us a lot of money. Our system is totally irrational. If it were razed to the ground and a new paradigm were developed to serve the PATIENTS instead of the medical industrial complex, it would be cheaper and provide better outcomes for patients.

Lou Adams
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 1:15pm

Former Lt. Governor's respect for collective bargaining is good to hear. He does fail to address then 'Medicare for Anyone Who Wants to Buy-In or Cannot Offord Insurance Option'. It is much harder to roll off the tongue but is a proposal that many are supporting. It would most definitely help businesses and workers in Michigan and offer more choices which Mr. Calley supports.

Diane Emling
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 1:19pm

We expect our businesses to be competitive in a global market. But our businesses carry health care for their employees on their bottom line, which businesses in no other country have to do. Businesses would jump for joy to not have employee health care on their dime.

Private Doc
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 5:23pm

I'm a physician in private practice (a "small business owner"). While paying for my school loans and practice costs, I've been doing reasonably well with the Affordable Care Act.

By the way, I didn't lose any patients since the AFA because I take all insurance, including Medicaid. That said, since President Trump took office, my rent and other expenses have been increasing astronomically every year. So my employees have been disappointed because I haven't been able to give them annual raises, but in truth I'm not greedy. It's just that my income has been declining. Many of my colleagues in other clinics have just decided to close shop.

Ironically part of my rising expenses include health insurance for my family and the cost of health insurance for my employees. The president and the GOP have made insurance even more expensive under the ACA by taking away the penalties for not having insurance. That means people only have to buy insurance when they are already ill. My patients also can no longer afford their co-payments, deductibles, and premiums, so I see them less or not at all. So while my expenses are up, I continually make less money. Meanwhile my patients are not healthier. Just the opposite, they wait until they are very ill and get their care from the emergency room which is much more expensive and only handles triage.

If all that weren't enough, the private insurance companies tell me what my services should cost and only reimburse a fraction. How is that a capitalistic, market driven approach? The big insurance companies call the shots, like monopolies because they tell all the physicians what they think they should charge.

Then there is the biggest slight to patients from Big Pharma that sets arbitrary prices on medicine. So many of my patients can't afford the medicine that I prescribe.

My "small business" providing health care is not sustainable and the GOP loves it. The real money to be made is in private health care insurance, not health care because you make money by denying coverage costs.

Maybe that is why President Trump wants to keep out most immigrants, but import physicians from lesser developed countries. They would be cheaper because they were educated in socialist countries where education costs little and would have low expectations in terms of income because anything they make would be better than what they would make in their country.

The GOP wants to take away jobs from hardworking dedicated Americans, including "small business owners", like me, who worked so hard and incurred great debt (in part because Lt Governor Calley and his ilk always want to cut higher education funding) to provide kind compassionate health care. Clearly the GOP does not want all Americans to have health care, especially working class people and people of color. They only want health care for themselves the GOP elite. The average President Trump supporter thinks he is a populist, but he's not.

We need an approach like Henry Ford. Pay workers decent wages so they can afford health care at a reasonable price. Medicare for all would do just that. Like others have said, other countries have social medicine and private health care insurance for anyone who wants to pay for it. Most are happy with the social medicine and don't use the private insurance. We don't have that social option here and it's hurting most Americans. Truth is that I'm a struggling middle class American physician who since 2016 can't make ends meet and I've been in practice for over 15 years.

The real culprits are corrupt politicians, lobbyists, Big Hospitals, Big Insurance, and Big Pharma. President Trump and Lt. Governor Calley are in the first group, wedded to the second group. America wake up, Reagan was wrong and so are all his minions. 2020 VOTE!!

Ben W. Washburn
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 8:45pm

Thanks for some authentic insight Private Doc, after a massive amount of largely ignorant comment!
My wife expended 15 years of her working career as the medical biller for a pair of Michigan State DOs, who were personally dedicated to an inter-city Detroit family medical practice. Her deep frustrations with her job, and her cause for finally quitting, was dealing with the ever-changing denials that she received from insurance companies which were welching on their premium promises. The first response of the insurance industry is to enlist folks with publicly likeable persona like Brian Calley, to speak out on their behalf, and to suggest that folks would be much better advised to rely more upon the compassion of their private insurance functionaries, than upon some distant governmental authorizer. Bottom line: It's all about money, not care.
As T. R. Reid, in his analysis of the health care systems of each of our international economic competitors, has indicated, more than 25% of each and every dollar that is expended on "health care" in the United States, actually goes to the cost of administering the costs of insurance reimbursements. This compares with 6% to 12% in all of our competitors, who have a more universal health care program. IF, all of that unneeded cost reimbursement effort were to be translated into providing some kind of actual health care, for every man, woman and child in the U.S., they would be provided with up-to-date health care, and no one would go home with less pay than they now earn.
Let's be clear: This would take an enormous effort to retrain hundreds of thousands of Americans who currently provide medical billing services, to instead provide some kind of honest medical services. Looking at this from my wife's perspective, this would not at be some kind of sacrifice. She would have been elated to do something that is essentially more useful.

Private Doc
Thu, 08/22/2019 - 12:01pm

Exactly, however people should also understand that health insurance companies don't pay health care providers in a timely manner. Sometimes physicians have to wait more than six weeks to be paid. They are the last to be paid after employees and expenses. Meanwhile most people get paid every two weeks, including politicians with full benefits, pensions, healthcare insurance. I sometimes have to wait a month and a half to get paid. I weathered the great recession just fine by trying to cut costs. I never laidoff an employee. I continued to pay them and myself. I haven't started losing money until last year, a year after "the chosen one" was elected by the electoral college. So much for the great economy! Unemployment may be down, but most people can't afford the basics. Everyone should have the same benefits that the politicians get.

Joseph Clark
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 5:34pm

Glad we didn't get you for Governor, talking points from the same old lies.
Medicare for all will greatly increase health and that means production not to mention eliminate massive paychecks to corporate death panels.
If car insurance is mandated and supposedly was going to save us money but the private gouging began and we pay the highest rates in North America, let's get of that rollercoaster too, healthcare will have well paid doctor's and nurses just no insurance game telling what they will and won't pay for. stop sucking up to corporate interest Calley, Get with it, Burger King bought Tim Hortons for instance and moved their headquarters to Canada to save the insurance baloney GM keeps plants open in Canada because of the same. Snap to.

Al Churchill
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 9:18pm

Predictably, Cally did not offer an alternative to what currently exists in health care. Neither did the Republicans in the, decades old, national narrative on health care. That way, their position escapes examination and criticism, while the Dems are visable and open to commentary. It's done deliberately as a matter of strategy.

On the other hand, some sort of public health care plan needs to replace a exorbitantly expensive system that currently exists. It is well documented that this country pays twice as much per capita for medical care than any other developed country. Some outcomes are not as good.

It is pointless, in this observers opinion, to debate revising our current system, without, at the same time, looking at the details of medical care for cost cutting.

Just sayin
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:45pm

Wonderful comments rebutting all the usual talking points!

Wouldn't our auto insurance rates go down dramatically, if all Americans had healthcare???? More savings to offset taxes, in addition to savings from no premiums, deductibles, or copays.

Doug L
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 8:52am

When I was last looking for a job, about 2 years ago, I found that most offered horrible health care options, usually with the employee paying all or most of the premiums. If small business offered reasonable health care options to their employees, I doubt there would be this push for Medicare for all.

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 9:07am

Wow, what garbage, Calley, absolute garbage. I hope that Small Businesses stop paying dues to your association over this crap. No sources whatsoever. No mention that it would save Small Businesses money and relieve pressure to buy health care, and likely allow more small businesses to start & grow. I guess that we can chalk this one up to the "all the bars will close when we ban smoking indoors" too. You know, it really sucks to breath clean air now, at all my favorite establishments.

Mike S.
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 12:40pm

If you think that GOVERNMENT can do something cheaper than the free market, then you might be a recreational marijuana user?!?

Same ol same ol
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 5:45pm

You're a broken record from 1980. We are still reaping the benefits from the New Deal, thank you American GOVERNMENT!!!!!

Cliff Yankovich
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 12:59pm

It is not like Medicare For All has even a whisper of a chance in a State governed by someone who's dad used to be the CEO for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Funny - no one seems to be crying about the 19.2 million dollars the current CEO made last year, but you don't suppose that would drive up the cost of health care any, do you Brian Calley? The guy is a CEO - he is not performing brain surgery or saving babies with heart defects and he got paid $52,602.00 EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. Does anyone else think that is outrageous? $52k a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And yet we get told how "expensive" it would be to have medicare for all. I was born at night, but not last night.

Cliff Yankovich
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 1:10pm

Me again - just having some math fun. The BC/BS of MI CEO makes $52,602 every day of the year. Imagine you are paying a $1,200 a month premium to BC/BS of MI - it takes 43.3 of those EVERY DAY to pay the CEO which means it takes 1299 of them EVERY MONTH, just to pay this guy. Let that sink in, please.

Marcie Brogan
Wed, 08/21/2019 - 6:59pm

As a small business owner I have always resented that I am responsible for my employees' health care. WHY?! Who thought that up? Why am I not responsible for their housing, their food, their education, their spiritual life? Just as we now have IRAs so that many employers are relieved of the burden of pensions, we need relief from the healthcare obligations which force us to spend money and time on complex issues that are completely outside the scope of our day to day business skills. Employees--everyone--deserves healthcare. It should be free to those who cannot afford it and easily affordable for everybody else. But it should not be paid or managed by employers--we have our real work to do!

Sally H
Thu, 08/22/2019 - 6:49pm

So, he apparently knows some people who are satisfied with their health insurance. Everyone I know has problems with the cost and restrictions on coverage. And as for sound bites, I read several in this piece: "one-size-fits-all"; "reduce access to care"; "increase wait times"; "protecting the health care choices"; "run by politicians"; "dictated by politicians"; and that much used adjective, "hard-working".
The biggest flaw in this piece though is its skimpy amount of truth. It can keep fact-checkers quite busy.
I'm curious too on just how it would cost businesses a fortune if they no longer have to provide health insurance.

Fri, 08/23/2019 - 1:25pm

You are absolutely correct, Sally, but good businesses that care about their employees will be happy with healthcare for all. Bad businesses will lose their best employees who feel liberated to finally quit and find a better place to work or start their own businesses. So yes some businesses won't like it, but most will like it. Everyone be nice to Calley because one of his bosses just died, David Koch. A lesson to all greedy Republicans, you can't take it with you and your spawn will just blow it, maybe on drugs, or spend it on Democratic issues, just to spite you!

Lisa Marckini-Polk
Sun, 08/25/2019 - 10:29am

Respectfully, I think your article is not representative of the full array of small business realities. Small employers struggle to compete with big business for quality talent because our health insurance costs are higher and our options fewer.

In Michigan, owner-operators can't get a business policy; you have to have an employee beyond yourself and the private health-insurance market for individuals is incredibly costly. I have been an owner-operator both before Obamacare and after. Before Obamacare, my insurance agent provide me with this sage advice: don't get sick. If you do, you won't be able to shop for a different provider or policy; your existing provider won't be able to kick you off, but you won't get coverage anywhere else. The people in your risk pool will eventually shop for other coverage, leaving only the sickest people stuck in the pool, and eventually costs will skyrocket, you will be unable to maintain your insurance coverage, and you won't get any elsewhere. Since Obamacare, premiums are indeed higher but at least that preexisting conditions issue appears to be solved.

It also bears mentioning that the lack of access to reasonably priced, suitably protective health insurance surely inhibits small-business startups and entrepreneurship among all but the youngest.

Our current employer-sponsored health insurance system is not good for small business on any level.

Linda Glombowski
Mon, 08/26/2019 - 7:29am

Ask small business owners what they think, instead of listening to a man who still toes the republican line and stepped out of his government job directly into a lobbying job

Linda Glombowski
Mon, 08/26/2019 - 7:36am

What many people don't seem to understand is that we the tax payers are already paying for those who are uninsured and underinsured. Who pays for the WR visit that the patient can't pay? Who pays for the exorbitant end of life care costs, cancer treatment costs, etc etc... We do, in higher premiums. Medicare for all will not cost us more.

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 1:55pm

I see Mr Calley has once again started an argument after making up the problem and the facts to support his argument and then declared victory.

What further analysis of some campaign promises has he used to determine that his dire warnings will come true? I have not seen enough detail, beyond arm waving by some potential candidates, that would allow me to make any judgement.

Individuals and businesses pay 1.45% for Medicare taxes and an additional surtax of .9% for on those employees making more than $200,000.

Done right it might mean an increase in an individuals tax, zero on the business and no more payments for either for private insurance.

No more payments for private insurance and insured employees sounds like a win for small businesses, not a loss

Craig Reynolds
Fri, 09/06/2019 - 9:51pm

Goddammit, NONE of this blathering and blithering and deflecting and redirecting and misrepresenting and accusing and wiling and moaning has ANYTHING to do with health CARE - it's ALL about health INSURANCE. Until all the politicians and assorted talking heads start talking REALISTICALLY about that FACT, ALL this kvetch is so much meaningless and tiresome and pointless flim-flam sprayed about for the spewers to help their private interests and incomes grow.

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