Sunday, January 29, 2006

Health Care Costs: Whose Fault Are They?

Rick Wagoner, Chairman of General Motors, stated recently that something needs to be done about health care costs in this country:
"HOUSTON (AP) -- American industry and the government will need to address how rising health care costs are hurting companies and the economy, General Motors Corp.'s chairman Rick Wagoner said on Friday.

'I want to be clear I'm not saying we expect the government to pick these expenses up,' Wagoner said at the Houston Auto Show a day after the world's No. 1 carmaker reported it lost $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter, one of the its most dismal showings ever, and $8.6 billion for 2005. 'I think they've made it very clear they don't intend to do that, at least the current administration.'

The 'health care burden' affects every business as well as government and affects the ability to grow jobs and the economy, said Wagoner."

I agree that the Bush Administration is not going to jump in with a bail out plan. However, the Administration would do well to take heed of the fact that it is largely the Federal Government's doing (together with a ridiculous tort environment) that health care costs are what they are. The Medicare / Medicaid systems have created a rationing of health care costs leading to higher prices. Sure, that not the Bush Administration's fault, but let's also not simply blame the automakers for all their problems, either.

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