Pittsburgh policy propaganda progress
Praise to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for a pretty powerful policy piece.
Why aren't business leaders pushing for universal, single-payer health-insurance coverage?
Memo to cost-conscious businessmen: You should be backing efforts to have a universal health-care system as a way to level the economic playing field with competitors abroad and at home.
You doubtless are well aware of the disadvantages of competing with companies in every other major industrialized country where national systems keep the cost of health care from falling directly on employers. For you, this perhaps is more important than the customary argument for universal health care that focuses on the 47 million Americans without adequate health-care coverage.
According to Morton Mintz, a highly regarded journalist whose medical exposes include the Thalidomide and Dalkon Shield scandals of 40 and 20 years ago, businesses would do much better under a publicly financed but privately run health-care system for all -- including free choice of physicians. He says universal coverage would cost employers far less in taxes than they currently pay for insurance and help balance their books in other ways.
The writer addresses the backward-(un)thinking of the traditional corporate opposition to the idea:
American now pay an average of $7,206 for health care, more than double the average among major industrialized nations. So why do businesses and industries in general drag their heels on something that would be so beneficial to their bottom lines?
In my interviews with Pittsburgh business leaders, the answer could be summed up in the word "socialism." But none of the proposed plans are like Great Britain's socialized medicine system, under which health-care employees and hospitals are owned by the government. Moreover, as Mr. Mintz points out, corporate America seems happy with Medicare. If Medicare is such a good answer for the elderly and for business, why not support a system that extends it to all?
Though a huge improvement over the usual big-media misdirections on this topic, the article is deficient in facty goodness, since it doesn't mention HR 676. I'm writing a letter to the editor thanking the paper for running the column, and thanking the writer, Clarke Thomas, for engaging business people on this issue, and pointing out that HR 676 has more co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and more union endorsements than any other health care proposal. I am also mentioning that Steve O'Donnell, who is running against the incumbent Republican Tim Murphy, has promised to co-sponsor the bill. Other western PA folk, please consider joining in!