Socialized Medicine Boosts Small Business Growth

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The United States of American is the only nation in the developed world that burdens employers with providing health care for their employees, a practice that harks back to World War II. Because most young able-bodied men and women at the time were serving in the military, there was a severe shortage of labor throughout the nation, particularly in the manufacturing sector. So to attract workers business came up with the idea of offering health coverage as a perk. After the war ended the labor force came home, but the health insurance perk, by now an un-negotiable item in labor union contracts, had become too entrenched to be discontinued.

The high cost of private health insurance in the United States—the premiums plus the loads of paperwork involved--can be relatively easy to cover by multi-million dollar corporations. But for small business it can be a killer. Even in the best of times, much less in today’s protracted economic recession, most small business (1 to 100 employees) just can’t earn enough to keep up with the ever rising premiums exacted by insurance companies , employ the extra clerical staff needed to do the paperwork, and still cover the normal cost of running their business. Stats show that some 50% to 70% of small business in the United States fail or close within five years, and though no official explanation is given for it, one obvious reason is the health insurance burden placed on them.

Western Europe, by contrast, abounds with small businesses, some mere mom and pop shops and eateries, which have been around for decades, largely because their owners don’t have to worry about health insurance for their employees or for themselves. That cost is covered entirely by their governments. Sure, they have to pay taxes for it, but their tax burden, shared as it is with millions of their fellow citizens, is miniscule compared to the cost of private health plans in the United States.

Free-market advocates never tire of reminding us that small businesses are the main source of employment in this country. Well, one sure way to help our small businesses thrive and bring down the nation’s high unemployment rate would be by unburdening small businesses of private health insurance and adopting socialized medicine like the rest of the developed world.

In promoting the measure, its advocates could not call it socialized medicine, of course, for the word socialism has an undemocratic, unpatriotic, un-Godly ring in the ears of true-blood Americans. They would at first have to give it a different name, with an easy to remember acronym, like, say, Subsidized Medical Assistance (SUMA), or some other, vague, non-offensive moniker, until voters embrace the idea and have no reservations about calling it by its right name.

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