That is a complete bargain. I own a small retail business, and it costs
over $800 per month to provide bare bones health insurance for our
employees. That comes out to over 12% of our monthly payroll costs and
many of the employees are not in the plan because they get better
insurance from a spouse's job.
On 10/11/05 08:13 am TheSnoMan tossed the following ingredients into the
ever-growing pot of cybersoup:
Our previous primary care physician agreed the the US should have a
national healthcare system like most civilized countries, but said it
would be difficult to implement because too many people have their hands
in the cookie jar.
On 10/11/05 08:13 am TheSnoMan tossed the following ingredients into the
ever-growing pot of cybersoup:
Our local paper this morning reported the findings of a survey by the
Kaiser Family Foundation: health-care costs are increasing at triple the
rate of inflation. Fewer employers are offering health-care benefits.
Health insurance for a family costs more than the income from full-time
employment at minimum wage!! IOW, health insurance in the US costs some
people more than 100% of their income, whereas in Australia (see an
earlier message of mine) it costs nobody more than 2.5% of his or her
income, and that 2.5% of income is sufficient to cover in addition
people with no income -- typically the unemployed.
But we can't have any kind of public health coverage. Oh, no. Huh-uh. That
would be Socialist, which is the same as Communist.
This is what we get for having stopped teaching civics, government and
logic in the public schools.
The problem with health insurance these days in the US is that people
basically want to use
it to pay for everything.
I personally am in the "struck it rich" category, as about 10 years ago I
was under one of
those red-carpet HMO's of the time and got cancer - I'm cured now but the
total bill for
me was in the $100,000+ range. All but about $3K of it paid by insurance.
But you see,
this is what health insurance was originally designed to cover, and what
it -should- cover.
The problem today is people want health insurance to cover things like
outpatient medical procedures in the under-$5000/year range. But how does
company pay the rare $100,000+ claims like mine when every last one of it's
who is paying about $10K a year in health insurance premiums is pulling
about $5K a year
out of the health plan in benefits for piddly shit? (and a lot of them are
pulling more like
And it's really a vicious circle now because even the people who are willing
for the piddly-shit themselves can't do it - because the doctors offices
games, they know the insurance company only pays out 30% of a given
so they inflate the cost of a $20 procedure to $80, then the insurance
it back down to $30 and the doctor makes a $10 profit. A person who
to have their insurance cover the cost doesen't have the option of just
giving the doctor
$30 because they aren't in a plan. They have to give them the $80, so
incentive now to step outside of the sytem.
When I retired I did not applied for SS since I have more than enough
income. When I turned 65 my heath insurance provider sent me a letter
informing me I could no long keep my coverage because I had not signed up
for Medicare. I seems they do not have a policy available for those over 65
who are not on Medicare and pay for part 'B.' I had to sign up in order to
get the catastrophic coverage I wanted. The policy I have picks up the
balance of what ever uninsured amount that is over $15,000 annually. The
cost is relatively inexpensive with that amount of the deductible. Talk to
In my case I'm still working and so am covered under an employer-paid plan.
It happens to be a catastrophic-type plan coupled with a HSA (Health
Savings Account) My employer switched to that almost as soon as Congress
authorized them, to escape the premium creep. The plan does not kick
anything in until you exceed $10K a year in health expenses, although if you
use a preferred provider they cannot bill you more than whatever the set
are that the insurance company has setup.
Initially there was resistance but actually everyone in the company has
I know I have. Previously, what would happen under the HMO is that my
employer paid something like $250/mth (This is a guesstimate, as I don't
exactly what the dollar amount was) for me and my dependents, and the
copays were dinging us about $20 per visit, plus invariably we would get
charged more money for tests and other
bullshit that was only partly covered by the HMO. I know in one year we
paid out around $1200 due to miscellaneous bullshit uncovered medical
And I think it was about $3K for the birth of each of our children even
once again, this was supposed to be an hmo that covered everything.
After the switch, what my employer pays is still something like that $250
but instead only $50 goes to the insurance company. (once again this is
a guesstimate, as I don't know exactly what it is he's paying) What I get
is $200 monthly going into that HSA where I write checks from directly
to the doctor. If you don't go to the doctor the money just keeps piling up
in that account (although, it's not usable for anything other than medical
expenses) So far we have not incurred more medical expenses than there
has been money in the account. So it has resulted in basically all the
nickel-and-diming and test fees and other bullshit
being completely covered by disbursements from the HSA.
Now, obviously if there is something serious then it's unlikely what is
in the HSA will cover the deductible so we will be out of pocket. But
this is a law of averages game. If your not sick or no one in your family
gets seriously ill for a number of years then you will stockpile money in
the HSA and then when something does come around that is serious,
someone breaks an arm or some such, then you are OK.
Where these plans are a bitch is if you have someone who has a
chronic problem that isn't drop-dead serious, yet still runs up the
costs every year into the $8-12K region. In the company I work
at, nobody has that, fortunately, which is one of the reasons they
were so quick to switch to it when these plans became available.
It's pretty common for (Canadian / Ontario) companies to arrange for a
private health and life insurance plan (above and beyond what the
gov't health insurance provides). Such plans require 100%
participation (for everything except dental, which can be
"opt-outable" if the employee's spouse is covered with their own
Such supplementary insurance consist of accidental
death/dismemberment, drug plan, physiotherapy, appliances such as
orthotics, crutches, braces, possibly a life insurance component,
etc. A typical cost for a plan like this is $150 per month per
employee. 75% of the total cost of a package like this is paid by the
employee (deduction from pay), the other 25% paid by the employer.
Some persistent problems with health care in Ontario is:
1) long waiting times for planned or elective orthopedic
surgery. There are so many senior citizens that are
injuring themselves (breaking their hips) that they are
taking up much of the orthopedic surgical resources.
2) lack of a familiy doctor (ie General Practitioner or "GP").
Many people go to walk-in clinics (or hospital emergency
departments) because they have no family doctor.
This is because the cost of a medical education in Canada
is low compared to the US, and as such med students in
Canada tend to continue into a medical specialty after
their initial 4 or 5 years of medical education, while in
the US a greater percentage of students do not have the
financial resources to continue into a specialty and hence
become GP's in order to start paying down their debt.
This problem is compounded by more females entering med
school, and they (more than males) are likely to not work
full time (or drop in and out of the work force as their
life circumstances change). Since med school enrollment
numbers are highly regulated, every student that enters
and does not participate fully in the medical work force
is a liability or a wasted resource. Also, many do not
find that a GP is a rewarding career or lifestyle, and
would rather specialize and spend their time interacting
with technology (scans, surgical instruments, computers,
robots) than dealing with the messy issues that pertain
to dealing directly with patients (as GP's do). A high
percentage of a GP's workload is either babies/kids or
old people (you've really got to have a love for people to
deal with either group).
Your are REALLY mistaken. It is all about labor cost with a auto built
here. Labor costs are bleeding them dry and it is reaching critical
mass. I have watched a lot of companies fold or go under because works
want more money than is availble. There are harder times on the horizon
for them and it is not about politics but about supply and demand and
competing with price of your product. The airline industry is going
throuch massive cuts now too because of costs and decreased revenues.
Do you feel that we should all get paid third world salaries?
Labor cost is a big factor in any business but so is production cost for raw
materials and other operating expenses. The company I work for has global
locations all around the world. We have very few expansion in the US for my
company but are going overseas to China. They are building massive size
plants with double or triple the capacity of what we can produce. Cost per
pound goes down with increase production. Why are they doing it has less to
deal with labor cost but more with taxes, benefits paid, environmental
They are building plants with less automation and computer control so they
need more people to operate them They pay less per hour wages and very
little in benefits. I went to Mexico to help start up a plant and they had
10 workers for every one in the US. They had less concern with safety and
environmental issues. I saw three workers die and the plant manager went
with government representative to the family home and presented them with a
check equal to about ten thousand dollars. The family was happy and 100
other folks were waiting to take that person's job.
The only workers getting richer is the CEO's with their massive salaries and
benefit packages. They downsize companies and layoff hundreds of workers
then they get a big fat bonus. When they get fired for bankrupt the
business they get a nice big severance and the worker on the bottom of the
totem pole barely gets enough severance to make ends meet for a few weeks.
Then the CEO goes to work for another company thanks to his buddies on
another board of directors and he starts collecting another big fat pay
CEO need to pay the workers that actual do the work for the company what
they are worth and stop ripping of the company with their outrageous
salaries and incentive plans.
Taking a 50% pay cut is a little steep in when the CEO keeps getting raises.
Delphi made bad business choices yet the CEO got rewarded. J.T. Battenberg
III had a 67% increase in his pay from 2001 to 2002 while the company lost
They are claiming bankruptcy due to bad business decisions and poor
planning. Their biggest customer is doing poor also and they failed to seek
out more customers. The union agreed to reduce starting salaries of new
employees while maintaining present employees at the same pay. See
www.uaw.org/news/newsarticle.cfm?ArtId&3 for contract agreement.
Delphi will ask the bankruptcy courts to allow it to eliminate its pension
just like United Airlines. This will free up millions of dollars that could
be used for debt. All the workers and retirees will see their pension cut
by at least half if not more once the governments pension guaranty takes
And what do you propose as the alternative?
The amazing idea that we should at the same time respect all other cultures
and allow unfettered immigration, while hobbling local industry with
environmental and health-related legalities, but somehow prevent cheap
goods from nations that dont bother with such, is amazing beyond belief.
Meaning: All you can do is complain, the only answer from ANYONE is either
adjust or go to a world-wide socialist centrally planned economy.
and we all saw from Katrina how well THAT works.
Would you mind going back and seeing that GM, itself was the author of this
conundrum in the late 40's when it started down the road to cradle to grave
security for its workers?
I thought not.
You need to see the big picture.
Back in the first part of the 1900s we had a huge and serious global problem
which resulted in 2 world wars and numerous smaller ones, to put simply,
government imperialism. At that time industry did not have the economic
it does today, national governments could do as they pleased.
We solved that by making these multinational corporations who ended up
with so much money and so many interests spread all over the place that
corporations found it very unprofitable to have these wars going all over,
they stopped them.
For example, imagine anyone trying to put together a Civil War in the
United States today. The big companies have offices all over the country,
if some group of states were fool enough to attempt to seceed, the
companies wouldn't stand for it, and the politicians attempting to do
so would have no funding for reelection, and the media empire which is
basically controlled by the big companies, would propagandize the
populations of those states into tossing those politicians out on their
And the Civil War was barely 150 years ago. The media empire today
teaches us it was all about slavery and economics and now that slavery
is gone and the South is industrialized those problems are solved and we
are just one big happy family. But the real truth is that the root cause of
the Civil War was Southern attitudes were very different from Northern
attitudes, you can see that by reading Southern and Northern writings of
the time. And despite 150 years of trying to change that, this is STILL
to this day - the differences in societal attitudes between North and South
still exist, although those differences are not as important as they once
were, not enough to start a war again.
And imagine another Mexican American war. We just had one about 160
years ago, imagine what would happen if either the Mexican or US government
tried declaring war on each other again? Once again, the big multinationals
have too much money invested, they would band together and take care
of the problem.
And imagine a German/US war, or a Japanese/US war. We just got out of
those about 60 years ago, there's still people alive who fought in those
Do you seriously think that GM and VISA and the other big companies
would permit either government to even get anywhere close to that sort of
Now obviously this solution doesen't work everywhere, there's still some
Mid East areas that are not under multinational corporate control. Although
I will point out that Saudi Arabia which has the largest oil reserves in the
world, is very close to being under complete corporate domination, if not
already. And China is, of course, a long way from that still. But I think
my lifetime we will see China become yet another government under control
of the multinationals.
Literally within another century, the GLOBAL power sharing will be
between the national governments and the multinational corporations. Each
will act as a check on the other. It will be messy, and a lot of parts of
will not be democratic, but it will be pretty damn close to the idea of a
government of checks and balances. Thus we will in a space of about 300
years, gone from a world ruled by despots, with absolute control, and
who regularly started wars that killed millions of people, to a world ruled
by corporations and governments each who have vested interests in NOT
starting wars that kill millions of people, and who have internal mechanisms
in place that flush out the very types of people who would want to start
these wars. And with nuke weapons available, we pretty much have no
other way to go.
The key here though is that the multinational corporations cannot exert
any control over a national government that does not govern a nation of
consumers. That is why rogue governments can exist - because they
do not allow their citizens to get more than sustenence level, thus those
people never can exert ballot box or other control over those governments,
and since those people are not consuming the products of the multinational
corporations, those corporations have no control over those people and
cannot propagandize them with movies and media and news to affect
the national governments.
That is why jobs are going from America to the rest of the world. Not
because any of those companies WANTS to move AWAY from the US.
It is because those companies WANT to move TO the foreign job
markets. Big difference there.
Think of the time it took the US population to move from an early industrial
society of a bunch of piss-poor people in cities working shit jobs in
factories, with no child labor laws, and the profits all going to industry
barons, to a society of people who had unions and labor laws that
divert a good chunk of those profits back into the workers pockets.
The places like India and Pakistan and China are where the US industry
was at back in the early 1900's. Not in terms of technology, because
you can always buy technology. But in terms of what the members of
those societies expect is right and fair.
Workers in India and Mexico are happy to have a job, any job, that is
true. And maybe those workers will be like that the rest of their lives.
But what about their children? And those children's children? The
Mexican workers are what they are now because they grew up in
a country where there was no hope of them getting a job. But when those
workers end up spending their lives working in some American factory
in Mexico, their children will grow up with a hope of getting a job. And
as a result those children -won't- be perfectly contented to take the worst
and most menial jobs for little pay. And so it will go in Mexico until in
another century, the Mexican population will all have environmental laws
and labor laws and TV sets that will
be used to propagandize them into consuming, believing, voting, and
acting the way that the multinationals want them to be, just like the US
population consumes, believes, votes, and acts just like the multinationals
want us to act. And the Indian population too. And the Chinese population,
and as many other national populations as can be converted will be.
One day, very very soon, in fact in a blink of an eye when measured
by the total length of human populations existence on the planet, there
will be no part of the Earth on which people do not work any different
than any other part of the Earth. Oh, they will all still have their quaint
local customs, but they all will own cars that all cost the same, they all
will work at jobs that pay comparably the same, they all will spend money
on the same things others spend money on. At that time there will be
no more of this complaints of companies moving jobs away, simply
because there will be no job markets anywhere left on Earth where you
can get people who work for next to nothing. All of them will be
wanting roughly the same money.
You can already see this if you do a lot of traveling. Take any US
citizen that lives in any US city and drop them in any major city
in Europe and they won't be able to tell the difference except for
Until this all comes about, the unfortunate fact is that the people
who have rich societies, like the US, are going to lose money.
We are paying for those undeveloped societies to be rushed
into being developed societies, because the quicker they can
be brought along, the quicker they can start getting significant amounts
of unallocated spending money that they can use to be good little
consumers, under the control of the multinationals.
If all of this repels you, then you can refuse to be a good little
consumer, and buy locally made and locally grown. It will be
more costly, and you will not be able to have as many things
as your neighbors who buy cheap Chinese knockoffs. But you
will have the satisfaction of knowing your throwing a monkey wrench
in the plans of the large multinationals and big governments. But
unfortunately, most of your neighbors won't be able to let go of
the teat on the TV set, and so your efforts will be like spitting in
the ocean. But, if it makes you feel better, do it by all means!
You fail to factor in terrorists whose intent is to set up sharia
governments, establish dhemma status and collect jizya where they can,
and otherwise to disrupt and either convert or kill millions of people
and destabilize economies whenever possible.
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
address with the letter 'x')
Well, put, Bill.... They ARE the common enemy because they DO see the
world picture and are in a life/death struggle. If the world society
isnt worn down to the point of accepting a return to feudalism, the
glorious "Caliphate" model is dead.
And Ted, I DO see the big picture!
That's exactly what I meant. Like Bush and many others before him say...
countries whose wealth depends on trade dont shoot at each other.
your cause and effect is a little cock-eyed... the Civil war WAS about
trade and other nations chose sides in the conflict BASED on which
outcome would affect them most.
As long as there is separation between civil governemnt and corporate
government, we will be okay. Enrons and Worldcoms are bad.. sure
enough.. but the saving factor is they will be found out either by their
shareholders or the government or both.
Currently that doesnt happen easily in China... but there's a growing
populist resistance there that dukes it out with Beijing on one side and
World Socialists on the other.
The dangers lie in de-facto National Socialism or a regression to central
planned economies using confiscated corporate resources to compete
On the domestic front... if Unions had tended to their knitting and acted
more like a guild than a labor agent, we wouldnt have a lot of this mess.
My whole family is GM/Harrison/Delphi... my dad and brothers retired from
Dayton plants.. (fortunately opted for GM retirement over Delphi).
EVERY family dinner involved a 'preaching to the choir' litany about the
waste and corruption in the assembly lines. The unions were self-
centered and corrupt when I worked there in the sixties and it only got
The locals in Dayton are more concerned with appealing the cases of their
members caught dealing drugs than helping Delphi find a way to keep the
And NO, my family WASNT management they were line workers.. and my
brothers both were foremen at one time then gave it up because upper
plant management didnt care about trying to eliminate waste and low
Bottom Line for automotive middle management: "Dont rock the boat"
Hopefully, their GM pensions (and mine) will be safe.
We once had a guy that was fired 18 times in 17 years for drunkenness. The
Union got him back every time. They got him transferred to another plant in the
hope that a change of scenery, and management, would help him. I never heard
how it worked out.
And don't forget to make the numbers look good, so the big guys get their
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Retired Shop Rat: 14,647 days in a GM plant.
Now I can do what I enjoy: Large Format Photography
Web Site: www.destarr.com
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