CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- My colleagues and I are seriously looking into locating our aerospace manufacturing operation in Ontario for multiple financial advantages. Health-care expense is one of the biggest.
Our business plans call for us to employ 350 factory floor technicians and engineers by our fourth year. The benefit package we must provide here requires a 35 percent burden on the payroll. In Canada it is 15 percent. Did you know that Honda, Toyota, Lexus and others have joined GM and Ford in Ontario so that now that province produces more cars and trucks than Michigan, and health-care expense is a major reason?
And while the Affordable Care Act is a start, it is a clumsy and complicated one that was tweaked to increase insurance company profits and bow to state's rights. Under pressure from the insurance lobby on both Democrat and Republican lawmakers, Congress dismissed the real answer, a single-payer government program, that President Obama wanted, like the rest of the civilized world enjoys.
We are the only modern country that does not provide universal single-payer health care for everyone. Why is that? Because the "greedlock"-driven health insurance and Big Pharma lobbyists have bought and paid for the politicians who prevent us joining the rest of the civilized world's progress in this basic aspect of human rights.
With a recent vote, the United Nations continues the global march toward the basic human right that everyone should have full and unrestricted access to the best health care a community can provide, and that the community at large can be the risk pool, and should be the source of providing the funds to pay for it.
My asthma medicine is $225 retail in the United States. It is $48 retail in Canada, and about 30 pounds in England where it is made. Why the price difference? Because Congress, under George W. Bush, passed a law that the largest buyer of prescription drugs, the U.S. government, cannot negotiate prices. There are no low-bidding negotiations allowed. We taxpayers are left to feed the greedlock! Both Canada and the U.K. have no such law. They routinely negotiate prices.
During the debate about the ACA, both the Conservative prime ministers -- Harper of Canada and Cameron of Great Britain -- complained at all the mistruths that were espoused here about their systems. And while they never claimed theirs is perfect, both stated quite emphatically that they would never go back to the archaic, discriminatory and excessively costly system that the U.S. has.
It has been widely reported that 65 percent of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to unexpected and horrific costs of medical care brought on by sudden and uninvited family health challenges ... from disabled children to cancer. The percentage of personal bankruptcies from health-care causes in Canada is zero.
And with better results, and everyone covered, it costs less in Canada. Their overhead rates are 6 percent. Ours are 36 percent. Why? Because we are the only country in the free Western world that pays outrageous multimillion-dollar salaries and bonuses to insurance, hospital and Big Pharma CEOs -- and monthly bonuses to the claims adjuster who denies the most claims!
And death panels do exist here in the United States. They are in the insurance companies who routinely deny claims.
Let's press to end the greedlock!
Tweddle, an engineer in Charleston, is a native of Canada.