Runaway Healthcare Costs

Any stimulus package will end up stimulating the economies of India and China, since whatever we buy with these stimulus checks are being manufactured there.

Affordable, universal healthcare access for all Americans will bring back the jobs outsourced to India, China, Brazil and others. While American workers excel in technology, output, dexterity and innovation, they are far more expensive for every unit of work they do when compared with their counterparts in the emerging economic tigers mentioned above. While American workers enjoy a better benefit package, health coverage is not unique to our labor force. The difference is the astronomical healthcare cost borne on our labor force as compared to our competitors. Runaway healthcare costs have squeezed the life out of American business, rendering it unable to compete on a global stage. Consider, for example, the figure of $1500 added by GM to the price of every new vehicle it sells to cover healthcare cost.

The globe continues to shrink. Anyone in doubt should read “The World Is Flat,” by Thomas Friedman, for a reference. With manufacturers and technical manpower from individual countries evolving into a global marketplace, we need to stay competitive in cost of manufacturing for our goods to have an equal chance. One of the major ticket items attached to our manufacturing cost is healthcare premier. While it is unthinkable to take away availability of this benefit, we cannot expect an employee making $40,000 to pay $15,000 for health premium. It makes far more sense to adopt responsible expenditure. Although everybody seems to agree that healthcare cost is a runaway train and costs need to be adjusted, there seems to be a dearth of action. Our words are not matching the deeds. For once we need to set aside special interests in pursuit of the general welfare of our population, and give our manufacturers and work force a chance to compete on a global level.

“It is the economy, stupid,” seems to be the leading theme in this election cycle again. Welcome time and money are being spent in the research and development of alternate energy sources. Steps are being taken to help bring down commodities cost. We hear about packages to help the housing market. We are not, however, seeing any concrete proposals to address the rising healthcare costs, which account for a staggering 15% of our GDP. I am worried this issue will receive mere lip service during stump speeches but will return to the status quo once the elections are over. Any stimulus package will end up stimulating the economies of India and China, since whatever we buy with these stimulus checks are being manufactured there.