I couldn't help but be struck by this quote from a health care consultant in an Oct. 8 article about early retirees being "pushed" into the new health care marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act ("Health Marts Could Land Early Retirees"): "Clearly, as we see more global competition for employers in the U.S., other countries' employers don't feel that obligation of having health care costs for people who are no longer production people."
This comment suggests that employees in other countries are left without health coverage at retirement. In most of the world's industrialized countries, however, employers do not need to provide their employees (active or retired) with health coverage in the first place because those countries have universal health care systems.
Employee and retiree health care costs place a huge burden on American companies that their counterparts in other countries do not bear.
Consider, by contrast, the attitudes of business leaders in Canada, as highlighted in a Sept. 29 Forum column by Matt Miller ("Canadians Are Baffled by Ted Cruz"): Why, they wonder, do U.S. companies "want to be in the business of providing health care anyway"? Canadian divisions of multinational firms "love Canada's [single-payer health care] system because when they bid on projects they have no health costs to load in."
First Published October 13, 2013 8:00 PM