A message from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa
National Health Care
Health insurance costs are skyrocketing and these costs are causing a loss of jobs and making America less competitive. While our businesses compete in a global economy, our health care system puts them at a severe disadvantage as the majority of our trading partners have established national health insurance.
According to a Morgan Stanley research report, without any changes in health care coverage, the bill of General Motors - the country's largest provide of health insurance - could balloon by 40 percent over the next decade. Companies that provide health care for their employees have faced double-digit costs increases, and two-thirds of large employers have increased employee co-pays in the last year alone.
Without question a national health care system is the most sensible plan for individuals and businesses. Some argue that such a system would be unrealistic, but nothing is realistic about maintaining our current system.
While many believe that a national health care system is a recipe for bloated government bureaucracy and inefficiency, they're unaware that it can't be much worse than our convoluted market-based system. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, we spent far more on health care coverage than any other developed nation-an average of $6,012 per person on health care in 2004, which consisted of 15.2 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP), far above $2,550, or 8.9 percent of GDP, average for 30 other countries.
The cold truth than many of us work under is that employer-provided health care coverage is shaky at best. Let's say you lose your job; not only are you financially vulnerable, you're quite possibly going to lose health coverage for you and your family.
The time has come for a national health care system. A national health care system would do more for our "homeland security" than any other single piece of legislation. Let's make sure our elected officials get the message.
James P. Hoffa
© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen