LEGISLATIVE PUSHBACK GUIDE
This is a guide to help you address the most common forms of resistance that groups face when pressuring their representatives on single payer legislation. After surveying hundreds of our members, we chose about 15 of the major concerns heard from individuals and legislators on transitioning to a single payer system. Knowing how to answer these questions will prepare you for a district visit, birddogging action, or townhall event.
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THE CLAIM: Single payer is a job killer.
The truth: In addition to creating a net gain of jobs, single-payer will improve the lives, choices, and working conditions of all workers.
A single payer system is ultimately pro-worker. By untethering insurance from employment, employers don't have as much power over employees. More opportunities will open up for those who would like to change jobs, start a new business, or not work at all.
Numerous studies show that Medicare for All will result in a net gain of jobs. By shifting the burden of cost from employers to a progressive tax scheme, businesses will save money and can more easily hire. More money will stay in the pockets of lower and middle-income earners, boosting the economy and demand. A 2015 study of New York’s single payer proposal have estimated that 200,000 jobs would be created by the economic effects of the state’s single payer proposal, the New York Health Act. Even the more centrist RAND corp. found that the NYHA would result in a net gain of over 155,000 jobs in 2022. Studies of single payer in Vermont and Oregon also show a net gain.
In addition to boosting the economy, many well-paying jobs in healthcare delivery will be created to meet new demand for services. More people insured will result in more work for all healthcare workers - many of whom can now practice medicine rather than dealing with insurance.
These numbers address the long term effects of single payer on the workforce. Nonetheless, single payer's vast increase in administrative efficiency and the elimination of private insurance will affect hundreds of thousands of jobs in insurance companies, doctors' offices, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Those workers have legitimate concerns about how the transition to Medicare for All will affect their lives and livelihoods. We address those concerns below.
THE CLAIM: Millions of displaced workers won't find employment.
The truth: Both single payer bills in Congress have funds allocated for job placement and retraining of displaced workers. These provisions in the bill are not as strong as they need to be and we expect them to be stronger in the future.
Working with employees of affected industries to strengthen transition protections in single payer legislation will ensure a just transition.
HR 676, the House single payer bill, provides for first priority in job placement and retraining. However, salary benefits are only for 2 years and are capped at $100,000 per year. Retraining is included in the language, but a budget is not specified.
S1804, the Senate Single payer bill, allocates 1% of the bill’s budget to “programs providing assistance to workers who perform functions in the administration of the health insurance system and who may experience economic dislocation (for up to 5 years).”
Labor for Our Revolution is currently working on a proposal for even more protective benefits. The following is an excerpt from their proposal:
"Labor for Our Revolution believes that all workers have the right to a just transition whenever a change in public policy affects their lives and livelihoods. Workers and their communities should not have to pay the price for the elimination of unjust or unsustainable economic activities. Rather, those who profited from the continuation of these practices should pay the costs of conversion.”