Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Health care reform: What does industry want?

So where does big business likely stand with respect to health care reform? Pharmaceutical and banking industries can be expected to stand behind the insurance companies who stand the most to lose. Agriculture, of course, is the dominion of the petrochemical industries (fertilizer and pesticides); naturally, petrochem is going to be fully behind whatever big pharma wants: that's no real reform.

On the other hand, industries that employee lots of full-time workers who make things or provide services ought to favor reform. For example, military-industrials stands to gain from health care reform. That's because under the current system companies are saddled with paying for -- often expensive -- health insurance plans for their workers.

So does this mean that the oligarchs are split over health care?

Not exactly. The problem is that even industries that must pay the full burden of insuring workers have often been able to escape the burden of employer-financed health care by passing the costs along to their workers in the form of lower wages. So I don't imagine that the oligarchs are going to have a civil war among themselves over this particular issue.

The principle beneficiary of real health reform is middle-class America. The only question is whether the people still count in Washington.

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