In that post, I commented that cutting union health care benefits is not a valid long term strategy, and quoted Prof. Katherine Stone (UCLA Law):
Efforts to shift costs onto employees or cut back on health benefit coverage has meet with intense opposition. The alternative is to shift the cost to the government. General Motors' competitors in Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom all have national health systems to pay for their workers' health care needs. Fair trade requires a fair playing field, and so we need to level our field upward if we want to compete. The lesson of the General Motors' impending doom is that national health insurance is not some socialist pipedream but good policy for American business. After all, as General Motors Chairman Charlie Wilson told the U.S. Senate in 1955, "What is good for General Motors is good for America."But, after all, it is a new age. Maybe the up-to-date version of the classic quote above would be: "What is good for Wal-Mart is good for America."
Well, either way you say it, both point in the same, new direction:
Healthcare Reform Calls Get Louder
An unusual new coalition of big employers, labor unions and politicians united Wednesday to push for "quality, affordable" healthcare for all Americans by 2012.
The proposal adds to growing pressure on Congress, President Bush and statehouses across America where governors including California's Arnold Schwarzenegger are calling for a major overhaul of health insurance coverage.
The idea united some bitter adversaries Wednesday and indicates that there is business support for change.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest private employer, joined with one of its biggest critics, the Service Employees International Union.
AT&T Inc. signed on along with its major union. Silicon Valley is represented by chip maker Intel Corp. So are both major political parties.
"The fact they even got to the same table to talk about this in the first place is pretty amazing," said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, a national nonprofit organization that represents large concerns such as Exxon Mobil Corp., IBM Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co.
The proposal was short of specifics but had four broad themes: universal health coverage by 2012, better preventive care and disease management; more efficient healthcare delivery, and cost-sharing by workers, employers and governments.
The initiative, dubbed Better Health Care Together, also guarantees that healthcare will take on an even larger role in the 2008 presidential campaign.
How about that - acknowledgement that universal health care would be a competitive advantage to our American businesses. This merely confirms what many of us have thought for years and years - that a healthy (physically, emotionally, and financially) America is a better America.
Maybe this time the folks in Washington will actually listen - since the voices of big business are joining the voices of the average citizens in calling for health care reform.