U.S. businesses need national health care to compete
Charlie Sykes had a blog posting last week that is incomplete and leaves people wit the wrong idea about what the biggest problem facing American auto companies. He put up a chart from Forbes that shows some of the costs American auto companies must deal with to produce a car. His post is trying to give the impression that the unions are the reason reason American car companies can't compete. He even highlights the costs of providing health care to retirees.
Yes, how dare all those people think they can have health care coverage.
Sykes' post should have called for the only solution to this problem - a national health care system. Without it, our companies will continue to be at an incredible disadvantage in the global economic fight.
General Motors and other companies have been trying to get the government to address this problem to help them compete with car companies in other nations that do not have to pay for health care costs. In 2004:
...the automaker, known for its innovative approach to health care, spent $5.2 billion to cover 1.1 million retirees, employees and their families. Prescription drugs cost GM $1.9 billion...and lately almost year brings another double-digit increase. The auto workers didn't make the health care costs go up, but they are being blamed for the problem by people like Sykes.
The rising cost of health care really pushes up the price of American made vehicles. Take GM's cost estimate:
But the figure that prompted Wagoner to raise his voice is $1,500. That is the amount of money added to the price of every single vehicle to cover health care, a cost that his foreign competitors do not bear.American companies cannot continue under this failing health care system and expect to stay competitive. G. Richard Wagner of GM agrees:
"The cost of health care in the U.S. is making American businesses extremely uncompetitive versus our global counterparts," he said. "In the U.S., health care costs have been rising at double-digit rates for many years. In 2003, they were about 15 percent of GDP, at least 30 percent higher than the next-most-expensive country."It's time for our country to start the debate necessary to radically change our health care system. Hopefully the new crop of Democrats on their way to Washington, D.C. will start that debate sooner rather than later.
You can find the rest of the Washington Post article that the above quotes came from here.