Monday, July 18, 2005

What's Good for GM?

by Tom Bozzo

To reinforce Brayden King's recent-ish post at Pub Sociology on the effects of factors like the U.S. healthcare system on employment costs, here's something near the end of a lengthy AutoWeek interview with GM's Vice Chairman Robert Lutz:
The four pillars of GM are compelling products, a new way of going to market, continued cost reductions and a relief on the healthcare burden. [Emphasis added.]
Not specified but go figure: the possible form(s) the relief might take.

I should note that this doesn't lead ineluctably towards a single-payer system, even though single-payer strikes me at least as the overhead-minimizing approach in principle. Under current management, we'd presumably be pushed towards something like mandatory purchase of private catastrophic insurance plus HSAs, though it's hard to imagine too many people outside of the Cato Institute's Borg cube or like environs popping Champagne corks over that outcome.
As GM posts yet another quarter in which their losses dwarf their health-care expenses, we are left to wonder (a) what the difference between three and four is and (b) what good they will do, since the firm can't manage one or two.

"I stuck my finger in a hole in the dyke; too bad a falling tree took out a section to my right..."
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