As political momentum continues to build around Medicare for All despite fervent opposition from Wall Street executives, centrist Democrats, and television talking heads, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivered a speech Tuesday to the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) arguing that a single-payer healthcare system would be immensely beneficial not just for workers, but also for American businesses.
"The way we figure it, the vast majority of the people in this country would be saving a good chunk of money, and the average employer would also be paying less."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders"When you go up to the Hill, presumably the business community and conservatives are supposed to be opposed to single payer," Sanders said at ASBC's annual summit in Washington. "And yet all over the world businesses understand that national healthcare programs are good for business."
Under the current healthcare system, millions of Americans receive insurance coverage through their employers, and single payer's detractors often claim that the transition from the current private system to Medicare for All would be enormously disruptive to both the workers who rely on employer-provided plans and the businesses that provide them.
In an analysis published Tuesday, Matt Bruenig of the People's Policy Project quickly disposes of the first half of the claim, noting that "we switch around 10,000 people onto Medicare everyday as they turn 65 and those who go through the process seem pretty happy about it."
Medicare for All would simply "move up the eventuality of switching to Medicare from age 65 to whatever age you happen to be right now," Bruenig concludes. "The fact is that the thing that most disrupts people's employer-provided health insurance is the system of employer-provided health insurance. Twenty million people were fired or laid off last year from jobs and another 40 million quit or separated from their job for another reason."
During his speech at the ASBC summit, Sanders took on critics' argument that businesses would be harmed by the costs of transitioning to Medicare for All.
For the average employer, Sanders argued, the opposite is the case.
"Somehow my Republican friends think the American people just love paying out private insurance premiums that are going up every single year, but if they pay less in taxes than they're paying in private insurance, that would be a terrible thing," Sanders said. "The way we figure it, the vast majority of the people in this country would be saving a good chunk of money paying more in taxes, not paying any private insurance, no deductibles, no co-payments, and the average employer would also be paying less."
On Facebook, the Vermont senator added: "When business leaders and workers, doctors, nurses, and patients stand up and fight back against the greed of the big drug and insurance companies and in support of Medicare for All, we will finally do what we should have accomplished decades ago."
Watch Sanders' full speech: