In Part I, we explored the benefits of universal health care for the environment. In Part II, we look at the negative impact universal health care could have on businesses. The language of the final bill has not been finalized yet, so some of these conditions could change. If you want to make greener products and have a greener business culture, the health care debate is well worth your attention.
Cons for Businesses
1. Higher Taxes Part I– When people talk about universal health care, they talk about how it is “free”. Any seasoned business person knows that there is no such thing as a “free lunch”. With universal health care, the government has to get the money from somewhere. Under the proposed health care plan, businesses who do not meet government mandates on insurance will pay higher payroll taxes. This means money that could be reinvested in a business, either by hiring a new employee or investing in infrastructure, has to be diverted to payroll taxes. While employees should have health insurance, government mandates on health insurance may be excessive for small businesses and individual employees.
2. Higher Taxes Part II– President Obama has said that the healthcare plan will not raise taxes on middle class Americans. In order to do this, he said taxes would be raised on individuals making more than $280,000 a year. At first, this seems reasonable, but there is one problem. Many businesspeople have a sole proprietorship business structure, which means they file their business income on the personal tax returns. This means they would be hurt by the individual tax hike and this could be the death knell to small 1-5 man businesses who are already hurting in this economy.
3. Lower Quality Care– Any business person has to be a student of economics. If a single payer system, which President Obama supports, is implemented it will have a negative economic impact. If the government is a player in the healthcare industry, it could put private health insurance companies out of business. The government has no motive for profit, so it can undercut the price of other companies. This seems like a good thing for consumers, but in the long run it will actually hurt them. In any economic situation, where the number of suppliers of a product decreases, prices go up and quality decreases. Government would have no incentive, once the competition is gone, to keep costs down and no incentive to provide quality health care. Anyone who has stood in line at the Post Office or at their local Bureau of Motor Vehicles understands government style quality.
So while universal health care may have a good environmental impact, there are many cons for those of you who want greener businesses. Tell us what you think about universal health care in the comments below.