Advertisement

U.S. health care needs review

April 21, 2006

It will be consumer demand and not any law passed by the Maryland General Assembly that will determine Wal-Mart's expansion plans in the state.

So said H. Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in an interview with The (Baltimore) Sun.

The story also said that although Scott characterized the law as "ridiculous," it would not affect Wal-Mart's construction of a 1 million-square-foot Eastern Shore distribution center that could eventually employ 900 people.

But just because the state has dodged that bullet doesn't mean that the issue will go away. The law that only affects Wal-Mart at this time would have been expanded to cover many companies under a bill introduced in 2006.

If that happens and Maryland is the only state in the region with such a requirement, it follows that new companies and the jobs they bring would go elsewhere.

Advertisement

It is time to look again at a national system for health care. Perhaps there is a better way to organize the present system without taking that step, but without a real study, we'll never know.

In the meantime, consider these facts from the New England Journal of Medicine: Between 1999 and 2003, per-capita spending for services covered by private health insurance increased by 39 percent. During the same time, the average U.S. worker's hourly wage increased by only 14 percent.

If private companies decide that health insurance for their employees is unaffordable, individuals won't be able to pick up the slack. It's time to look at the present system and how it might be improved.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|