But there really is a special place in hell for someone who’s willing to be used as fodder at a Heritage Foundation political event. That’s about as political and partisan as you can get.
And while it’s all well and good that Five Guys’ corporate office is distancing itself from its repugican satellite in North Carolina, at some point these companies have to be held responsible for their nutty franchises.
Health care costs in America continue to spiral out of control, while health coverage in American companies continues to drop. All at the same time that politicians in Washington discuss cutting the safety net beneath those programs, Medicare and Medicaid.
The joke is that the biggest problem American companies face isn’t a requirement to provide health insurance for their employees, it’s the actual current cost of such insurance in this country because costs are simply out of control – and it’s hurting competitiveness:
The United States spends an estimated $2 trillion annually on healthcare expenses, more than any other industrialized country. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States spends two-and-a-half times more than the OECD average, and yet ranks with Turkey and Mexico as the only OECD countries without universal health coverage. Some analysts say an increasing number of U.S. businesses are less competitive globally because of ballooning healthcare costs. U.S. economic woes have heightened the burden of healthcare costs both on individuals and businesses. The U.S. healthcare reform law signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010 includes measures aimed at making health care less expensive and more accessible, including upgrades to government-run Medicare and Medicaid.But far too many companies, and their henchmen in Congress, keep standing in the way of real reform to address the absurd cost of medical care in this country. So, when we pass laws requiring them to actually provide a decent amount of insurance for their employees, they whine about the cost, but at the same time refuse to help do anything to reduce those costs.
So we continue to fiddle around the margins of a supremely broken health care system that, in my view, is a ticking time bomb. We are not our parents’ generation. A lot of them had decent coverage at work. At lot of us don’t. And as we age, the need for medical care increases, and a lot of us are just beginning to experience how insanely expensive normal, routine health care is in America today ($21,000 for heartburn, seriously?). At the same time, our personal wealth decreases or stagnates, and our retirement looks more and more bleak as repugicans insist on saving money not by cutting costs, but by cutting benefits to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
If American politicians think today’s seniors are a scary bunch to take on politically, just wait until my generation hits retirement age with our lousy retirement plans, lousy savings, lousy insurance, and even fewer benefits in programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – as all the while health care costs continue to go through the roof. The Gods help Washington when that finally happens. Sadly, however, it will probably be too late to do anything about it.