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

General President



© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen