GM looks at Goodyear plan in shedding retiree health liability

Note the word "shedding"
GM looks at Goodyear plan in shedding retiree health liability http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/business/stories.nsf/0/3B1F7874F9C3E8E586257268001014F8?OpenDocument

-- "If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed,if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly,you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival.There may even be a worse case;you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory,because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." ---Winston Churchill
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Yep, sounds like a plan. Screw the retirees again. Let the bastards live up to the contract and honor what they promised their retirees. I wonder if I can change my contract with GMAC because I mismanaged my money? Ya, right!
NOYK
Jim Higgins wrote:

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/business/stories.nsf/0/3B1F7874F9C3E8E586257268001014F8?OpenDocument
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Looking beyond the GM retiree healthcare crisis, the healthcare industry, itself, needs an enema. We need to train more DR's and nurses. Then the price of healthcare would go way down and the quality of the healthcare would go way up (less overworked doctors/nurses) which would save money also in less misdiagnoses. Right now there's not enough capacity to train dr's/nurses, so a ton of well qualified people are turned away from medical schools. The competition for each spot in medical school is so tight, that the difference in qualifications between those who get in and those who don't is negligable at best. So the argument that "having few open spots results in better doctors" doesn't really hold water.
These are the overarching problems with healthcare. People are always talking about the rising costs of healthcare like there's no solution, but there is. Hear about the rampant nursing shortage? At our local college, there are only like 30 open spots per year in the nursing program, and like 200 people apply. They would let more students into the program, BUT they don't have enough faculty. The wages for nursing instructors is about 30% less than what they'd make actually being nurses rather than TEACHING nursing. So if we paid more to the nursing instructors, we could then train more nurses. It's all structural flaws in the system. Then it snowballs into the current situation where healthcare is very expensive and people are losing their benefits.
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Even the doctors are beginning to agree with you. It is a mess.
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Yes, the Doctors need a different direction but so do the pill pushing drug companies and hospitals and just about everything else to do with the medical industry. Decent health care should written into the 'Bill of Rights' and not left to chance.
NOYK
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On this, we are in total agreement. We pay taxes to an unresponsive government which should serve the people better in areas like this.
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I recently visited my doctors office. It's a two-man practice, and, they've got more overhead than a government agency.
Secretary, medical tech, insurance tech, nurse, office manager, and several other "support people" scurrying around.
Add in the cost of the office, and his ( liability ) insurance I can see why a "visit" costs to $80.
Years ago, doctors often worked from their homes. Their wife was the nurse/secretary. You visited, got treated, paid cash before leaving.
Those were simpler times. When medical care was affordable.

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If we had more doctors trained up and the system were revamped, then things could go back (sort of) to those times. If more people could get accepted into more medical schools, then this increase of DR's would result in less hurried/hectic doctors, plus their pay wouldn't go much down because there'd be less paperwork/malpractice ins. costs. Quality of care would go way up.
One of my friends had gallbladder surgery, and the DR. cut some bile ducts by accident (I can't remember exactly what mistake he made, but he did make a mistake). But now, she faces a lifetime of severe pain, operations, etc.. And she didn't get a PENNY from his malpractice insurance, because his insurance co. had gone into bankruptcy due to a few HUGE jury awards in other malpractice cases. So now she's on the public dole -- medicaid, ssi, section 8, food stamps, etc.. And she's near death.
The wide ranging healthcare system itself needs a huge revamping. It goes way beyond things like GM not being able to afford retiree healthcare.
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I believe the hourly pension plan is covered under the UAW contract. To change it, the union would have to agree, & I don't see this happening. I did read that GM may turn the hourly retirees health care over to the union. That may, or may not, be the same as dumping health care entirely. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Retired Shop Rat: 14,647 days in a GM plant. Now I can do what I enjoy: Large Format Photography
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Heck, the union sold us out already regarding health care. I still say make the bastards live up to the contract you retired under.
Also a retired shop rat: 11,315 in a GM plant. GMPT Bay City

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Normally, I'd say a deal is a deal and you should live up to it. What happens though, if GM goes out of business and there is no money to pay for any health care, versus paying for a reduced benefit? Is partial benefit better than no benefit?
I don't know if anyone has the right answer to all of this. Everyone should have access to health care. How do we resolve who pays, how much it should cost, etc? .
GM and the Union may have had good intentions when the contract was written, but sadly, times have changed. Should present workers be laid off to pay for your benefits? Should you, as a union member, be willing to work for the benefit of ALL the members and compromise?
It is not just the auto worker, it is anyone in manufacturing in the US that is in trouble right now. Everyone in Washington is out for themselves, corporate greed, in many cases, is taking the life blood out of companies, de-regulation to cut utility cost has caused it to rise, and we let our schools go to crap so there will be little foundation left.
Best advice I can give is for your children and grandchildren to learn to speak Chinese.
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I know my retirement was self inflected and I was one of the herd that took a 30 and out, retired at 49, with the assumption that the contract I retired under would be honored. One thing for sure is that the UAW does NOT represent retirees after retirement. They represent active employees only.
Regarding the partial benefit, thats fine as long as it stays constant but I can see it getting less and less until it's a non benefit. If GM /UAW want to save money get rid of the stupid "Legal Services" or "Dependant Scholarship" or the retiree tuition refund program. I figure GM, Ford, and all the other large corps. in this country could control the health industry if they formed a control group along with our federal government to dictate health care costs. Yes it does need to be controlled by OUR government as does energy( gas, oil, electricity and even telecommunications).
Our national leaders need to get off the 'Home Security" joke and get on with the needs of the masses. Let them get off the Ronald Rayguns line of thought of less government control and take control of the things that affect the citizenery of this great country. Don't worry about passports for Canada and Mexico border crossing, don't worry about the great wall of the southwest but worry about the lack of control of health care or the price of a gallon of gas or overbearing credit card companies or the ARM mortgages that are suddenly upsidedown. Foreclosures are suddenly at such a high level the lenders are worried sick. What a joke that is or more like a bad dream. I sure miss that fellow from Arkansas. He was a liar and cheated on his wife but governed for the people.
Well enough venting for now.
NOYK
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I can't say a lot because I don't even know you, but just in general, I have a problem with a guy retiring at 49 years of age and then complaining because a stupid-good deal is too expensive to keep up indefinitely. I understand the contract point, but those types of contracts are the biggest part of what has turned this matter into the issue that it is. UAW contracts have long been ridiculous and I have to wonder how any UAW worker could ever have thought those kinds of benefits could last forever. The hell with the cost - just give me what I want. Both the UAW and the motor companies were stupid to sign such contracts, and not expect that there would not be an endless supply of money to support them. Those who whine about it today only continue that stupidity.
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I whined about a lot of things in that post. The biggest part of the problem is not UAW workers or the UAW itself but The Big Three for signing such a contract. They agreed to it but never had a clue how to pay for it. How am I going to know if the brain trust in Detroit knows what they are doing. Mike, ever work in an auto plant? I did for 31 years. Enjoyed almost every bit of it too. Raised a family on some really good wages and benefits. Now it seems time to enjoy other things in life, and I will with or without GM or the UAW. Find other employment? Sure. I've retired twice more since leaving GM
Oh ya, the "stupid good deal" still is part of the GM/UAW national agreement.
NOYK
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This begs the question, should any company or business take care of you for life after working for them for 30 years? Given the life expectancy of us today, even 65 on Social Security is probably asking too much. If you join a company at 20, work for 30 years, you may still be drawing from them for another 30 years. That sure seems to be a high price to pay for many years.
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Well - I believe the fault like equally with the UAW, its rank and file, and with the Big Three. Short-sightedness on everyone's behalf. I don't blame anyone for going for the gusto when times are good, but when those good times get bled out by excess benefits and executive compensation abuse, then everyone has to face the music - pretty much all I was getting around to in my first reply.
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