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and Social Security too, a fact that may upset some GOP activists
because they have to deal with that reality in the trenches and this is not something most of them want to talk to voters about leading up to the next round of elections. And given the fact that I am just a moderate little "i" indy with no party affiliation - I
just play nicer on the left/Democratic party side of the Blogosphere
because, much like myself and for the most part, they deal from the
reality deck - I thought I would point to a story in The New
Haven Independent covering CT-05's Rep. Chris Murphy discussing the
issue of Healthcare Reform with activists that understand the problems
we are all trying to deal with.
of running from health care reform, Democrats need to swing back, and
not dumb it down in reaction to right-wing talking points.
personally? I agree. Healthcare reform has been one of my pet issues
for years. I have written about the fact that it is quickly becoming
the anchor that will sink the entire US economy. And it is precisely
because of the fact that the for-profit driven insurance madness
currently sucks up about 16 to 17% of the USA's GDP, an astronomical
number compared to almost every other nation that we have to compete
with in the global market.
But it is not just applicable to the
auto industry. The competitive disadvantage this puts us at in the
global market and in every industry is mind boggling. Meanwhile, while
we suffer the consequences of not only being at a severe competitive
disadvantage, the for-profit insurers deny care to an ever growing number
Because of our dysfunctional system pitting
profits against the value of a real person's life or a real person's health, the uninsured have
zero access to basic primary and preventative care, the only care they
may have access to is costly hospital emergency room care, and a
growing number of people are seeing their private plans disintegrate in
value or being dropped completely by their employers. And the insured
still have to deal with ever rising co-pays that literally put access
to actually using their insurance out of their financial reach and have
to deal with insurance companies that pay bonuses to a herd of people
hired to do nothing but deny you care you already paid for in your
There are better answers.
And these better answers come from the reality side of the aisle I was talking about earlier in the post. While not all in the left nor on the Democratic side agree with this action, it is an action that they all admit would work:
Emmanuel Logiadis (at right in photo) implored Murphy to lead the
charge to make sure some changes, such as the Medicare expansion, get
passed through reconciliation. The Senate needs only 50 votes in that
process, not the 60 it needs to overcome a filibuster.
Medicare eligibility age can be lowered to
zero, said Logiadis, a doctor from Trumbull. That would make many of
his friends in their 20s and 30s happy, he said. They could now say, “I
worked for Obama, and now he has delivered for me health care for life.”
“For the life of me I don’t see why [Senate Majority
Leader] Harry Reid doesn’t actually force the Republicans to
filibuster—- I would have killed to see the Republicans argue against
expansion of Medicare,” Murphy said.
Real Healthcare Reform can still happen.
that both the people and the businesses that do actually provide real
services and real material goods to the economy would benefit greatly
from. Real reform that would easily cut out about 25 to 27% of American
healthcare costs right off the top and immediately as soon as it is
There is a reality that is too often lost
in the debate, too easily ignored by the ideologues that are trying to
stop any and all real Healthcare Reform. And a reality that will cost
the Democratic party votes if they don't address it head on. Part of
what has the voters from across the political spectrum furious with
everyone in Washington D.C..
Why is this man smiling?
RELATIVE BARGAIN: George Mercieca, a worker at a GM assembly plant in
Oshawa, Ontario, shows off his Canadian health care card. GM spends an
average of $1,385 a year on medical bills for hourly workers in Canada.
An American autoworker costs the company about $5,000, but studies show
Americans are no healthier than their foreign counterparts."
is smiling because he has a great job with better medical benefits than
most Americans could ever hope for under our failed healthcare
for-profit system. The kind of job that Connecticut, and the USA as a
whole, can not realistically hope to attract under our current system
as it eats up more and more of our GDP, making it unaffordable to
consider the entire USA as an option for locating needed jobs.
If you do not believe me than ask yourself "what does the manufacturing industry have to say about this?" (Answer below the fold...)
training issues are less of a problem here in Connecticut, and probably
will never be an issue because we still have a decent educational
system, healthcare is cited as a major issue for Toyota's decision to pick Ontario, Canada, as the location of a factory for their Rav-4s in 2008:
level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program
you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota
plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the
southeastern United States," said Gerry Fedchun, president of the
Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, whose members will see
increased business with the new plant.
it was the "worst-kept secret" throughout Ontario's automotive
industry, Toyota confirmed months of speculation Thursday by announcing
plans to build a 1,300-worker factory in the southwestern Ontario city.
to Woodstock - that's something I've been waiting a long time to say,"
Ray Tanguay, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, told
hundreds gathered at a high school gymnasium.
plant will produce the RAV-4, dubbed by some as a "mini sport-utility
vehicle" that Toyota currently makes only in Japan. It plans to build
100,000 vehicles annually.
The factory will cost $800
million to build, with the federal and provincial governments kicking
in $125 million of that to help cover research, training and
Several U.S. states were
reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy.
But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by
higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project.
said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants
up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to
an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers
had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use
high-tech plant equipment.
"The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario," Fedchun said.
addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5
cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care
system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.
"Most people don't think of our health-care system as being a competitive advantage," he said.
is clearly an advantage for any company that wants to open up a
business in any industry... A 4 to 5 dollar per hour advantage. An
advantage so great that any state that passes true single-payer
Universal Health Care first will be positioned to become a mecca for
any company considering opening any kind of business. Right now both California and Pennsylvania are headed in the direction of becoming American industry meccas.
And just to be clear what the BIG 3 of the American auto industry thinks about single payer healthcare?
is a sample of their thoughts, as entered into the Congressional
records, when the privateers of free market run amok ideologies wanted
to begin inflicting the kind of damage they do everywhere in the
economy on the Canadian Healthcare system:
Joint Letter on Publicly Funded Healthcare
Alain Batty - President and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Canada
Basil Hargrove - National President, CAW-Canada
September 10, 2002
(Entered into the Congressional Record by Congressman McDermott)
Canada's publicly funded health care system provides
essential and affordable health care services for all Canadians,
regardless of their income. Publicly funded health care also enhances
Canada's economic performance in several important ways.
auto industry is Canada's most important export industry; it directly
employs over 150,000 Canadians in high-wage jobs, supports hundreds of
thousands of other spin-off jobs, produces $90 billion worth of
shipments per year, and generates billions of dollars in tax revenues
for all levels of government in Canada. The success of this industry
has been crucial to Canada's economic progress over the past decade.
Canada's health care system has been an important ingredient in the
auto industry's performance.
the auto industry, and in the many manufacturing and service industries
which supply automakers, benefit directly from access to public health
care services. Thanks to this system, they are healthier and more
productive. Employers in the auto industry, meanwhile, enjoy
significant total labour cost savings because most health care services
are supplied through public programs (rather than through private
The public health
care system significantly reduces total labour costs for automobile
manufacturing firms, compared to the cost of equivalent private
insurance services purchased by U.S.-based automakers; these health
insurance savings can amount to several dollars per hour of labour
worked. Publicly funded health care thus accounts for a significant
portion of Canada's overall labour cost advantage in auto assembly,
versus the U.S., which in turn has been a significant factor in
maintaining and attracting new auto investment to Canada.
publicly funded health care system is now facing demographic,
technological, and fiscal pressures. The erosion of publicly funded
health care through measures such as the delisting of currently-covered
services, the imposition of user fees, the failure of the public system
to keep up with the changing nature of health care, and new costs such
as prescription drugs and home-care, will impose significant costs on
automotive employers and undermine the attractiveness of Canada as a
site for new automotive investment.
both employers and workers in the auto industry, it is vitally
important that the publicly funded health care system be preserved and
renewed, on the existing principles of universality, accessibility,
portability, comprehensiveness, and public administration. The system
needs a secure multi-year funding base from government, and must be
expanded to cover an updated range of services (including prescription
drugs and home care services) that reflects both the evolving nature of
medical science and the emerging needs of our population.
this end, Ford Motor Company and CAW-Canada jointly urge the federal
and provincial governments to take appropriate actions to preserve the
public health care system, secure its funding base, and modernize the
range of services which it covers. In addition to reinforcing the
quality and accessibility of health care for Canadians, these measures
would also help to ensure the long-run success of Canada's auto
Alain Batty President and Chief Executive Officer, Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited.
Basil "Buzz" Hargrove
National President, CAW-Canada.