Why isn’t American industry agitating for universal health care?

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Long-time reader and Australian-TV-personality-on-the-rise Marcus has a question:

Given the whole debate about the US auto industry and the fact that one of their massive ongoing costs is health care, why the hell isn’t corporate America out there campaigning 24/7 for universal, state funded health care?

Surely one of the reasons that US manufacturing is uncompetitive is that these costs are on the balance sheets and projected liabilites of every major manufacturer? Putting aside countries with ludicrously low labour costs, every/most other developed economy’s industries (such as Japan and Germany) don’t have this problem because it does not fall upon employers to be the primary provider of health care?

I understand that the health care industry isn’t fond of universal health care, but why isn’t every other industry in America trying to get this burden off their backs?

I don’t have a good answer. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has lined up a few CEOs (Steve Burd of Safeway, Art Collins of Medtronic, H. Edward Hanway of CIGNA; Steve Sanger of General Mills, and Ronald A. Williams of Aetna Inc.) to back his universal health plan. But there’s certainly no general clamor, and I don’t recall Rick Wagoner, Bob Nardelli or Alan Mullaly bringing it up at the hearings this week on Capitol Hill. Could it just be ideological discomfort with the idea? Belief that it would never work? Any other thoughts?

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