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Wagoner: Health Care Must Be Addressed

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Guest Josh   
Guest Josh

GM Chairman Says Companies, Government Need to Address How Rising Health Care Costs Hurt Economy

HOUSTON Jan 27, 2006 — American industry and the government will need to address how rising health care costs are hurting companies and the economy, General Motors Corp.'s chairman Rick Wagoner said on Friday.

"I want to be clear I'm not saying we expect the government to pick these expenses up," Wagoner said at the Houston Auto Show a day after the world's No. 1 carmaker reported it lost $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter, one of the its most dismal showings ever, and $8.6 billion for 2005. "I think they've made it very clear they don't intend to do that, at least the current administration."

The "health care burden" affects every business as well as government and affects the ability to grow jobs and the economy, said Wagoner.

GM is moving forward with its turnaround plan spurred by rising labor costs, as well as shrinking market share and slipping sales of once-hot SUVs that calls for eliminating 30,000 jobs and closing 12 facilities by 2008.

Wagoner said internal studies had prepared GM executives for the bleak financial report.

"While disappointing, it was not a surprise to us," he said, adding that the corporate structural changes unveiled last year intended to return GM to profitability.

GM anticipates stronger sales this year because of its new lineup of sport utility vehicles and trucks, and it's abandoning costly, confusing incentives in favor of lower prices on most vehicles, which Wagoner said averaged $1,300 less per vehicle. The company also negotiated health care reductions with the United Auto Workers union, a deal that could save GM $3 billion this year.

"These are challenging things to address because you're dealing with real people who have benefits who are relying on them," he said. "And it's tough to say we're going to have to reduce what previously you've been getting.

More: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?i...TC-RSSFeeds0312

My question...will the Goverment step in and help American companies (far and away more than just the Big Two) or will the Administration continue to focus on foreign issues?

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Newbiewar    1

Wagooner and Ford need to talk to bush not about bail out, but what is wrong with the american businesses... the only way for the american ecconomy to flurish something must be done in every industry...

Health care must be addressed...

Workmans Comp Must be addressed

Insurance rates MUST be addressed...

these are things that cost thousands of dollars per employee per year. and think of that on a larger scale...

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razoredge    0

This is a no brainer for anyone in office. Yet nothing is being done ? Is this the money talking ? Does the health care industry have so much money our own government supports their holding Americans by the balls ? Insurance companys are big Wall Street investors, is this the reason our Government allows them to control every movement of our lives and extract every last possible penny from our pockets and the pockets of our employers ?

Its not just hurting our employers, its hurting our working middleclass and has put our working poor back below the standard they were living at in 1990. All raises and then some go directly to the heath insurance companys..........not a bad gig ey ? Some employers cant and dont give raises because the % of health insurance they already pay increases enough every year that they can not afford a pay increase as well........plus the employees share goes up. Thats a two speed reverse and we are in high range.

Yet another part of our population enjoys great economy, has gobs and gobs of expendable cash..........wonder if they are employed by the ...............health industry ? Naw, ya think ?

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91z4me    0

This is a HUGE problem for ALL companies right now, except insurance companies. I work in a healthcare office and after I am done with school will start my own practice. I can tell you 2 things that will have a HUGE impact on my future: 1 the rising cost of healthcare 2 the lower benefit levels people are getting for their dollar in healthcare.

People and companies are paying insurance companies more and yet they get less in return. Higher deductibles and copays, lower allowed amounts. That money is going somewhere and to get an idea of where take a look at your insurance provider's stock price in the last few years.

Here is mine for example. From around $22 a share to over $50 in 2 years is crazy for a healthcare company.

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=HUM&t=2y

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FUTURE_OF_GM    26

Washington will continue to do nothing... Afterall, 1) It's not effecting votes and 2) It isn't a problem on their personal financial statements.

Why would they be motivated to do anything?

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91z4me    0

Washington will continue to do nothing... Afterall, 1) It's not effecting votes and 2) It isn't a problem on their personal financial statements.

Why would they be motivated to do anything?

Because there are people who WILL do something. All that is needed is someone with enough balls to not listen to the lobbiests that the INS and drug companies have and we can get some stuff moving. Heck all you need is a few people to get it into the press and then EVERYONE will want something done. It would be easy enough to get it to pass if you could get the press's attention.

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drew770    0

Wagoner should know he is pi$$ing in the wind when it comes to health care costs and govt help!

The Democrats are still scared because of HillaryCare in the 90's and the Republicans are in bed with the health care industry so they won't do anything!

We are in trouble and there is no one in political office that has the backbone to do anything because Americans have NOT demanded it.

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avant1963    38

because Americans have NOT demanded it.

The current administration has done a great job in derailing the common sheeple Americans into worrying more about gays marrying and teaching creationism in public schools instead of the actual issues that effect them personaly like healthcare and job losses. They constantly con the poor to vote against thier betterment to insure "them queers don't marry." You get what you vote for... No healthcare, no jobs but two people who love each other cannot legaly be married and "confirmation" that nothing evolves. Ugh. What's the opposite of the "Age of Enlightenment"? I fear we are entering that Age in the USA now.

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I respect your opinion Walt but, I think the real problem with America is Americans. The arrogance, laziness, and lack of motivation to really be involved. When is the last time you heard anyone get excited about going to vote and how they were making a difference??? That isn't the only problem... so far, all I hear anymore is that you can't simultaneously be on both sides. YOU MUST PICK A SIDE AND DEFFEND IT TO THE DEATH!!!

I don't agree with that. I don't care if gays want to live together. I don't even care what they do in their bedroom. If someone gay asked my opinion however, I would very clearly argue it was wrong based on my religious beliefs.

The problem is that everyone on all sides of any issue try to say their way is the only way and legislate it. I don't think God should be removed from every courthouse and I don't think Roe V. Wade should be repealed. Why can't Americans be more plural and quit bickering over the crap that at the end of the day isn't the role of the government?!?!

Let's talk about the environment, healthcare, old age, responsible spending, education, education, education, and foremost an interest in the government that surrounds you. Democracy doesn't function in a spirit of apathy!

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avant1963    38

I think the lack of real leaders has brow-beaten us little guys into thinking that voting doesn't make a difference, that every politican is the same and out for one thing, their own agenda.

I think this current administration is getting those of us that couldn't give two flying craps about politics into it. I listen to talk radio now, I know a lot of what's going on and all of the names involved. That is something I would not be able to say 5 years ago.

As soon as what this contry does as a whole starts impeding on OUR liberties, those things that make us PROUD to be American, then we have no choice but to get involved. It's ashamed it has to get that bad for some of us to get involved, but I'm guilty as charged.

SingleStylish, I respect everyone's opnions and religious beliefs, and it seems that you are the same way, but that understanding is something that many in the right-wing media spots do not do and they use this unbending "America must have our Christian way of thinking as law or God will continue to send terrorists, hurricanes and floods our way."

That is scary. And you said it exaclty - IT ISN'T THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT, but they sure as hell make sure that is on their talking points for the media and forced it down the general public until they think that it IS the role of the government.

I'm all for ensuring that the evening news headlines are "environment, healthcare, old age, responsible spending, education, education, education, and foremost an interest in the government that surrounds you" but I fear until people grow up, arguments about sex, religion and what you and I do in the privacy of our own homes is a hell of a lot more interesting than healthcare. And that's a damn shame.

And remember I respect everyone's views, and I respect someone's rights to believe that I'm full of $h!. I DON'T respect anyone's right to force me to believe one way or another.

Thanks for the intellegent response SingleStylish, it's refreshing to have someone on the other side agree and disagree to come to the same conculsion.

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greg_nate    0

This is a no brainer for anyone in office. Yet nothing is being done ?

And therein lies the problem. Bush doesn't have a brain - never had one, never will.

He's a wannabe humble man, trying to make himself good with God and his father. He doesn't know what he is doing on any other level. I can't recall in my lifetime, a leader of any industrialized nation posessing such a low IQ.

He is in over his head...he was in over his head as Governor of Texas. He was in over his head in his bid for Congress. He was in over his head when he got married. He is in over his head when he wakes up each morning.

What is best for Bush, is to be on a farm with a dog and a competent wife who can pay the bills. Playing fetch with Sparky and laughing at small critters, is about all this fella is equipped to do.

...and somehow this mess became the leader of the free world...

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Angry Dad    0

If it okay to have an opinion I sure as heck have mine.

What we have learned over the last couple decades is that "free trade" is a complete disaster. There is absolutely no intelligent reason in today's world to embrace such a policy. Exactly what has it done for us? More like what has it done to us. I can understand that free trade should be thought of as a way to promote democracy and eliminate the need to defend ourselves from threats. That is how it was sold to us. That and as a way to reduce the costs of goods. Consumers always want lower prices. Too bad consumers can't spend money they don't earn. And how does this relate to the expenses of living here? Well when less people make less money less people pay for the enivitable bill that comes in. Those working pay for those who don't. Let's face it, those without benefits or money simply use the only method posible for health care which of course is the least effective and most expensive. That being the emergency room.

I say tariff the daylights out of all goods coming into the country. What will China, Japan or anybody else do? Tariff our stuff? They already do. At least we could use that cash coming in to pay for heathcare for the non workers. And I'll say what I believe, does it really matter if Joe Blow has to pay an extra 5 thousand for a Toyota? I don't care if he does. He doesn't have to buy it. You know Japan would do exactly the same thing to our goods and have done so to protect their historically bloated and incompetent agricultural industry.

We can't help anybody and everybody in the world by giving away our jobs. As Ross Perot said, there's a giant sucking sound coming from across the border. And eventually it will get everyone's job. EVERYBODY'S!

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regfootball    250

This is a no brainer for anyone in office. Yet nothing is being done ? Is this the money talking ? Does the health care industry have so much money our own government supports their holding Americans by the balls ? Insurance companys are big Wall Street investors, is this the reason our Government allows them to control every movement of our lives and extract every last possible penny from our pockets and the pockets of our employers ? 

Its not just hurting our employers, its hurting our working middleclass and has put our working poor back below the standard they were living at in 1990. All raises and then some go directly to the heath insurance companys..........not a bad gig ey ? Some employers cant and dont give raises because the % of health insurance they already pay increases enough every year that they can not afford a pay increase as well........plus the employees share goes up. Thats a two speed reverse and we are in high range.

Yet another part of our population enjoys great economy, has gobs and gobs of expendable cash..........wonder if they are employed by the ...............health industry ? Naw, ya think ?

read this and let me know what YOU think

billy

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drew770    0

Around the world America must be a complete joke.

We import the hell out of everything and we demand Walmart to stay cheap.

How can Walmart stay so cheap?

It imports everything from China!

We go around the world singing the praises of free trade but we keep getting the short end of the stick and not 1 politicians will have the nuts to say no more!!

We all remember when not to long ago China was a mess. Famine is all we heard. But, people wanted to have cheaper stuff so Walmart dropped it's "Buy American" compaign and started to import everything from China.

Now the economy in China is going gangbusters!!! Off of American backs and pocketbooks.

What would happen if America's 260,000,000 customers started to buy American and we demanded that our companies consider a domestic supplier first!

I know prices would go up but jobs would stay here!

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razoredge    0

I know Reg, this is going on across America. Its the era of big business and filthy wealth for those that dont even need it. Is comming out of the pockets of the poor American workers. This is why they want to push gun control, to keep these thieves safe from the laws of nature. B) 150 years ago this type would have never made it to the age of 24.

Last spring something went on with one of these health care people in Vermont, I just caught it on the news while driving so the information did not stay with me. It was the same kind of story, the compensations proved to be counter productive to the job. A conflict of interests so to speak.

Isnt it coercion ?, "if you want protection you will give me your money" isnt this what organized crime used to do before they found drugs and gambling more profitable.......ha ......funny......I bet this guy finds drugs quite profitable and the fact that people are not willing to gamble on their health profitable too.

For those that said its not the governments job :rolleyes: what the heck do you think the government is for...serve and protect, we need protection from these predators, they are abundant and running rampant throughout the world. They are white collar terrorists.

thing is nothing is being done because our "politicians" are the same level of predator, from the same school of training, they are all members of the same UNION

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