Support Single-Payer Health Care, Part 3

Several years ago, a major foreign-owned auto company was looking for a location for a new plant. One of the proposed locations was a small town in Ohio. The plant would have created hundreds of badly needed jobs for the community. Instead, the company located its new plant in Ontario. The reason: health care costs for workers were covered by Canada’s Ministry of Health. Had they built the factory in Ohio, the company would have had to shoulder that burden using private, for-profit companies and the lower quality of the coverage would ultimately cost the company in terms of employee productivity as well. One reason that few products are manufactured in the U.S. anymore is because of health care costs. Over $1400 of the cost of a new, U.S.-made automobile represents employee health coverage.

It is no secret that big corporate business interests have exercised undue influence over federal legislation during the past quarter-century, to the detriment of U.S. workers. However, increasing numbers of these corporate interests are starting to understand that the lack of national health care in the U.S. is hurting their own bottom line. While there is still considerable resistance from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, the clamor from the American people on this issue is increasingly becoming too loud to ignore. As far as asbestos diseases and lawsuits are concerned, awards for medical compensation, which are fixed, quantifiable, documented expenses, have been a huge part of what has cost defendants so much and bankrupted so many companies over the past three decades. How many otherwise honest small companies might still be in business today had medical expenses for the treatment of asbestos disease not been an issue?

How many asbestos victims might have been diagnosed earlier when such diseases are more treatable? With the 2008 presidential race heating up, every candidate except for two have addressed the issue of national health care. Of the remaining candidates, however, only one of them has actually come up with a solid, workable plan, which has already been introduced in Congress and has over seventy co-sponsors as well as the endorsement of many groups and individuals across the nation. Over the next two days, we’ll see what the various candidates have to say on the subject of health care. To be continued…