There have been a multitude of studies, even some funded by economically conservative groups, showing that a Medicare-for-All program would save money to the overall economy.
Forgetting the moral argument for public Healthcare, and focusing only in the efficiencies that a single payer healthcare insurance program would bring to the economy, one can deduce that the private healthcare insurance industry would have to resort to more subjective strategies to sway public opinion.
Their latest argument seems valid on the surface: But what about all the jobs that will be lost in the private insurance industry if we move to a single payer program? Think of the insurance workers and their families!
They argue that the Healthcare industry is now the largest US employer, and moving to a single payer system would cause wide-spread unemployment.
We need to be reminded that, Medicare-for-All, would have a negligible effect in healthcare service providers (e.g. Doctors, Nurses, Specialists, etc), as it simply removes the need of private insurance.
Private insurance jobs, while significant, they do not represent a majority of healthcare-related jobs. As of 2016 we are talking of about 464 thousand jobs, which were expected to grow to 572 thousand jobs by the year 2026, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So now the question is: How are we going to create half a million new jobs?
Unlike manufacturing jobs that require very specialized skills which are hard to transfer to other manufacturing industries (A miner has a very different set of skills than an automobile manufacturing, or iron worker). Or jobs in the healthcare PROVIDER industry (e.g. Nurses, Physicians, EMTs, etc). The jobs in the healthcare INSURANCE industry are in fact quite portable to other industries.
Let us take a look.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, if we sort by the number of positions in the industry we find the following.
188 thousand (40% of the total Healthcare Insurance Jobs) are office and administrative support occupations.
95.9 thousand (21% of the total Healthcare Insurance Jobs) are Business and financial operation occupations
62.2 thousand (13% of the total Healthcare Insurance Jobs) are Computer and mathematical occupations.
43.4 thousand (9.4% of the total Healthcare Insurance Jobs) are Management occupations
Those four areas alone represent a bit over 80% of all healthcare insurance related jobs.
One of the main economic reasons to move to a single payer system, is that a single payer system would release resources that could be used in productive industries. The new industries that will arise by the lower costs of owning and launching a business will immediately create demand for office and administrative employees, Business and financial operation experts, Computer and math occupations, and of course the associated management.
While indeed, workers in the healthcare insurance industry will have to find other opportunities. Their set of skills in business, marketing, media, software and management will be in demand as the American economy becomes more dynamic by not having escalating costs in healthcare.
Please consider reviewing the different occupations and the number of people involved in those activities: http://www.bls.gov/emp/ind-occ-matrix/ind-xlsx/ind-524114.xlsx
The column labeled Employment, shows the total number of jobs in that category in thousands.
The column labeled Percent of industry, shows the percentage of those jobs within the healthcare insurance industry
The column labeled Percent of occupation, shows the percentage of those jobs across all jobs in the American economy
Of the TOTAL number of insurance claims and policy processing clerks in America, only 13.7% are employed by the healthcare insurance industry.
Of the TOTAL number of actuaries in America, only 10.5% are employed by the healthcare insurance industry.
Of the TOTAL number of correspondence clerks in America, only 9.4% are employed by the healthcare insurance industry.
You will quickly realize, the workers will be fine. The skills they have developed can be re-deployed in other industries with minimal retraining, helping the US economy to become more dynamic, and expand at a faster rate.