Health Care Aftermath
Re: "First Up -- The Audacity of Hopelessness," April 2010
By far, I am not an expert on the health system, but I have lived in Israel and in the U.S. and I can compare. In the U.S., the health care system is only about one thing. It is not about the health and well-being of its citizens, but it is about money, and I mean BIG' money. I was talking with an acquaintance of mine who happens to reside in Canada. He and his wife (similar ages like ours) are paying $160 a month for a decent health plan, while we pay almost a $1,000! This is in fact the staggering ratio between what is happening in the free world, and what is happening in the U.S., as far as health care is concerned. We have one of the most advanced medical [systems] in the world, but the sad story is that it is entirely unaffordable. My daughter had a baby girl four weeks ago, and she spent two days in the hospital. The total bill was a staggering $23,000! I think you will agree that something is very wrong here.
Asher H. Sharoni
BAR Engineering & Manufacturing Inc.
A&H Engineering & Manufacturing Inc.
You discuss the cost of health care on the American economy and businesses, and offer several excellent arguments for the need to reform. You cite Richard Nixon's health care plan, mandating health care coverage for all employees in companies over 25 people, a public option for low-income families, and replacement of Medicare with a stronger federal health insurance plan as a viable option, with an estimated $1 trillion in estimated savings to this year. This closely resembles what was recently passed into law, with the exception of mandated coverage. However, the rest of the article is dedicated to highlighting the shortcomings of the health care battle, and ends with the hope that no bill is passed at all. Either you are unable to reconcile hard felt political beliefs with your own observations, or an article that is meant to highlight the general ineffectiveness of the federal government in problem solving, falls short because of the author's predisposition.
New Castle, Ind.
Yes, our health care system costs more in many aspects. However, our prescription drugs and cancer screening/treatment options far surpass those with socialized medicine. This is not to say our system is without flaws and it certainly needs common-sense reform. Unfortunately whenever Washington gets involved, we usually get more regulation and higher taxes (which stifle economic growth and business investments). And now we have the government mandating that everyone purchase health care insurance, under threat of monetary penalties, regardless if a person wants it or not.
The genius of the free market system is we almost always get superior quality and lower prices (e.g. cell phones, automobiles, iPods, etc.). The reason this hasn't happened with health care is because the federal government has over-regulated, over-mandated and just plain meddled where they had no business.
That was a refreshing and fact-based commentary. I observe the American political scene from Canada and am tired of listening to the left and right shout out talking points on cable TV with no regard for truth or facts.
While our health care system in Canada is by no means perfect, we do spend 40% less than the U.S. and have better outcomes on infant mortality and life expectancy.
We have both seen the improvements possible by implementing lean and continuous improvement and are left to wonder what the U.S. would look like with a 20% reduction in health care costs.
The political system just looks so gridlocked that getting urgent and sensible legislation passed appears insurmountable.
Low labor costs from China don't scare me. Innovation, creativity, lean, fast delivery and customization capabilities leaves big holes in every market to compete and win. However, their political system enables rational decision-making in weeks and months.
This is fast becoming a dominant competitive advantage.
Please keep up your messages. Common sense is needed more than ever to return the U.S. to prominence.
Re: "First Up -- The Case for Investing in Manufacturing," March 2010.
I have developed a new engine and I want to manufacture it in the U.S. After investing more than $5 million and six years in development, I am unable to find the capital needed to commercialize the product. There seems to be a real crisis in the area of capital investment in manufacturing in the USA. I must have spoken to more than a 100 VCs and I found only two that had any interest in basic manufacturing. Even though I have a real game changer of a product, there is virtually no interest. If it isn't healthcare, IT, biotech or financials, it doesn't fly. I have a product that will support good jobs. Our product isn't a commodity product. It offers lower volume and higher margins. If you can direct this to people who still believe in U.S. manufacturing and have capital to invest, I would appreciate it.
Kenneth "Mike" Buck
Buck Marine Diesel, Inc.