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CEOs discuss transforming healthcare in America

CEOs were asked: Some say America's healthcare market is broken. Would you be in favor of a single payer system? If not, what would you propose?
CEOs were asked: Some say America's healthcare market is broken. Would you be in favor of a single payer system? If not, what would you propose? Getty Images/iStockphoto

CEOs were asked: Some say America's healthcare market is broken. Would you be in favor of a single payer system? If not, what would you propose?

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While we would not go as far to say that our healthcare markets are broken, we do believe there is plenty of room for improvement. The single payer system is not the answer. Our proposal, and what we now offer, is a complete family insurance program, with 80 percent borne by the company and 20 percent paid by the associate. Health Savings Plans are good to have when both spouses are employed and can bank pre-taxed dollars toward catastrophic healthcare needs.

Jim Angleton, CEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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Our goal should be universal coverage so that everyone can access the full spectrum of care, most importantly, preventive services. The single payer option is one way to provide universal or near-universal coverage, but it’s not the only option. We can get there in a multi-payer environment, too. However, until we control escalating healthcare costs, paying for healthcare will continue to be contentious. To bring down the cost of care, we need to make healthcare delivery more efficient, address drug pricing, and improve the overall health and wellness of Americans.

Wael Barsoum, M.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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While the prospect of a single-payer system is attractive to many as a way to help the uninsured, we must not forget that the majority of people are insured, and those in the work force typically are insured through their employers. Health insurance is a benefit that helps attract and retain employees, and as such, most businesses see its advantages. At Ocean Bank, for instance, we have absorbed the increases in health insurance premiums for several years to provide an additional benefit to our employees.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedo, president and CEO of Ocean Bank

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Unfortunately, the conversation around healthcare and solving the healthcare crisis has become hyper-politicized. This politicization gets in the way of finding solutions that will ensure access to affordable, quality healthcare. Across the country, and here in Miami, the majority of families are one medical emergency away from a financial crisis. Even families with “good” health insurance can be financially devastated by a serious medical condition or diagnosis. There must be a better way to provide access and peace of mind to the healthcare system. And, there must be a better way to have open dialogues about these possible solutions — be it single payer, universal, modifications to ACA, or other.

Chelsea Wilkerson, CEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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It would appear as though the healthcare market is broken, but I don’t think it is. However, it is in need of serious repair. I’m not sure that a single payer system would be the answer, for various reasons. Before moving to a single payer system, I would exhaust all efforts into fixing the injustices of allowing the insurance and pharmaceutical companies to run amok with their costs. If we continue in the present direction, there won’t be enough quality medical doctors for a single payer system because doctors are leaving the field and medical students are discouraged from practicing medicine due to the constraints from insurance companies and the pressure from pharmaceutical companies of properly treating patients.

Dorcas L. Wilcox, CEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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Healthcare has been a growing concern across the country for some time now and clearly there are plenty of issues that need to be addressed, including inefficiencies in delivery, fair access, and rising costs of prescription drugs. I’m not a healthcare expert, but I certainly have seen our healthcare costs increasing for less and less coverage. The main hurdle to finding solutions has been the degree to which these topics have been politicized — on every side. Until we are willing to put politics aside, progress will be limited. Healthcare is a human issue and illness and disease certainly don’t differentiate between insured or uninsured — they affect all of us. This is a serious dilemma, and until we are able to unite to find the best solutions, we’ll just get more of the same.

Jorge Gonzalez, president and CEO, City National Bank

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A single-payer national health system appears on the surface as a simple way to ensure every American receives healthcare. Dig deeper, and it appears employers would feel the financial burden for two reasons. Although employers no longer would pay insurance benefits, they would face higher income or payroll taxes. Furthermore, employer-based health coverage is a successful model and often becomes the deciding factor that entices the best employees. As long as healthcare for all remains a political football, there will not be a solution.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO, of Black Dragon Capital

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I think that significant components of our healthcare market are sub-optimal. healthcare expenditures exceed 18 percent of our GDP. I do not think that we should rush to a single payer system now. I think that we have a lot to learn from private sector ventures in the healthcare space, including from the venture being advanced by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase and the CVS deal with Aetna. I believe that the traditional fee for service healthcare model will be increasingly challenged.

Paul Singerman, co-chair of Berger Singerman

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America’s health system is definitely broken, but can the single payer healthcare system be our “silver bullet?“ The good thing is, all payments will be controlled from the government directly to the doctors. The bad thing is, all payments will be controlled from the government to the doctors. If the system is not funded well enough, this could be disastrous. Notwithstanding, the single payer system is incredibly expensive. Obamacare has way too many issues which, if not materially modified, will bankrupt our country. I am conflicted because I do believe that every U.S. citizen is entitled to quality healthcare but, in reality, we need to create a system that is economically viable. Otherwise, we will be trying to solve a long term problem with a short term solution, which will prove to be a major problem for our country and future generations. I do believe that a single payer system will help control health costs. It is similar to Medicare. The government will control how much is ultimately paid to all doctors and all healthcare providers. That could be a blessing from a cost control stand point or it can prove to be a curse because once the money runs out and the government starts cutting their previous agreed upon itemized payment amounts, the quality of our healthcare system will be directly impacted in a negative way. I don’t believe that there is any quick fix. We need a comprehensive overhaul to our healthcare system, which includes some form of socialized medicine, but we also don’t want too much government control whereby the healthcare system fails like most other agencies that the government involves itself with Private enterprise has typically proved to be most successful with proper checks and balances that are ingrained into the system vis-à-vis binding legislation and not part of government control.

James “Jimmy” Tate, co-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital; co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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Some would say America’s healthcare is broken. More would say that America’s healthcare has room to grow. There have been many proposals on how to mandate and or correct America’s healthcare issues. If approved, I would be in favor of a single payer system. There are several countries that have single payer healthcare models. Each country operates their system slightly differently, but the end result is the same. Single-payer health insurance could be a very good deal and can really make a difference in the U.S. America has experienced what a single payer system is like through the access of Medicaid and Medicare. In a single payer system, healthcare benefits will be available for every citizen regardless of income, level of education, sexual orientation, or existing conditions. If a single pay system is to be introduced in America, it is vital that the citizens focus on the pros such as coverage for all.

Rashad D. Thomas, vice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

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