A National Health Plan:
It is Time for an Economic Cure
Today we are facing economic strife not seen since the beginnings of the Great Depression. The United States is struggling to stay competitive in a world market. The business model we had fifty years ago no longer works when competing against countries that have a national healthcare plan. "The United States, the only country where health care is primarily paid by employers. In other industrialized nations, it is paid for by the government." (Billitteri, 20006) The stakes are high, with the burden of costs lying on the company, the rising costs of health care are eliminating research and development by companies. This lack of R&D cripples a company's chance to stay competitive in a global market. According to Billitteri, "GM spends more for health care in 10 weeks than it has spent on fuel cell technology in eight years. GM has reached a health care crisis before the rest of the country. But GM's battle with the health care may well be a preview of what America will be facing in coming years." The burden of healthcare has eroded GM's profits and has forced them to move, or eliminate many jobs in the United States.
The debate for a national healthcare plan is an old one. Reformers have sought major changes five times during the last century. From the sweeping pronouncements of Theodore Roosevelt to the more recent attempts of President Clinton, in the mid-1990s. These attempts were initially met with great enthusiasm, but end in the same manner. "Peripheral improvements that have benefited specific populations — the elderly, the disabled, low-income children and certain low-income adults. But universal coverage, is as elusive as the Holy Grail." (Epstein, 2002) These token improvements are, at best, policy shifts to a gain a positive news story for an administration. Real change is needed for the United States to regain its economic foothold.
The history of how employers took on the...