NAM’s Engler, Timmons on Health Care

By September 10, 2009Briefly Legal, Health Care

National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler sat down with Detroit Free Press editors and reporters yesterday. He said he anticipated some manufacturing recovery, doubted the impact of “green jobs,” and discussed health care in anticipation of President Obama’s speech. From “Engler sees job growth at factories“:

“We don’t see a lot in this reform package where there’s any savings for employers,” he said. “We’re already spending $2.6 trillion on health care. Most of our members are saying, ‘I just don’t want to be killed by the additional cost of changing.’ ”

NAM also opposes any proposal that enables the federal government to compete with private health insurers.

“The fear is that once there is a public option, it becomes the primary option thus driving up costs,” Engler said. But he wouldn’t object to setting cost targets for private insurers with the understanding that if they don’t meet them, a public option could be considered.

“As long as there’s not a self-executing mechanism and both Congress and the administration have to reopen the debate,” he said.

After President Obama’s speech, the NAM issued a statement from Executive Vice President Jay Timmons:

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) commends President Obama for his continued commitment to reforming our nation’s health care system. As our nation’s economy struggles to stabilize, our priority needs to be on economic recovery and job creation.

We are encouraged by the President’s comments to find savings within the existing health care system and specifically legal liability reform. However, we are concerned that many of the proposals the President outlined tonight including a government-run plan will increase costs and threaten economic recovery. These costs will drastically alter current plans and the coverage manufacturers already have.

Health care proposals that add costs are not reform and will diminish our nation’s stability and security. We cannot afford health care proposals that drive up costs for already struggling businesses. Ninety-seven percent of NAM member companies voluntarily offer health benefits to their employees and stand behind policies that will foster growth and create jobs.

The NAM supports reform that will meet employee expectations while giving employers increased flexibility to offer coverage-particularly the consistent national structure provided by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) framework.

The NAM looks forward to reviewing the specific details of the President’s plan and we will continue working with Congress and the Administration for a bipartisan solution that helps lower the cost of health care.

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