John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, spoke via conference call with NAM members Tuesday from small- and medium-sized manufacturers, one of a series of quarterly webinars used to bring folks up to date on Washington activities.
On health care, the boss had lots to say. We’ve transcribed some of his comments, with only light editing:
Our priorities at the NAM are unchanged. We came to the health care debate in good faith, saying, “Look, it’s time we have health care reform because we need to reduce health care costs, and we ought to respect all the employer plans that are out there.”
The NAM membership, mostly everybody, provides health insurance to their employees, so we were in the category of “doing the right thing.” Now we’re in the category of “no good deed goes unpunished.”
Our priorities are the same:
- Let’s maximize for manufacturers the widest possible set of opportunities and choices to have different options, some of those very much more affordable than what we have today.
- Let’s improve for the entire system and reform the way we deliver health-care services.
- Let’s increase the transparency on the costs and the quality of that health care, regardless of who’s providing it.
We’ve long been at the manufacturers part of employer-based coalitions, which have sought to educate members of Congress and the public on what we think are the significant economic consequences of what’s being proposed up on the Hill.
There isn’t a person on this call, there isn’t a person I come across, whose balance sheet wouldn’t look pretty good if they could take 10 years of revenue and set against that only six years of expenses. That’s how this is being handled in the Congress, when they say we’re making money and reducing the deficit.
Who wouldn’t? Ten years of revenue, six years of expenses – of course you look good. But the piper will have to be paid.
So we say, let’s just start over, because we don’t think there’s any cost control here. We think costs will go up, will certainly go up.
The NAM is a member of Employers for a Healthy Economy, and the group’s running mate, the Start Over! coalition.
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