It's sad that George Will is still writing. In fact, it's sad that George Will was ever writing. Matthew Yglesias snarks away:
TPMCafe || Health Care With Your Hyundai?: By Matthew Yglesias: George Will explains the world:
Miller bluntly says that the social contract written after 1945 is being -- must be -- repealed because, given globalization, unskilled manual labor cannot be paid $65 an hour, with the cost passed on to consumers.... Herb Stein, the University of Chicago economist who served as chairman of President Richard Nixon's Council of Economic Advisers, famously said: If something cannot go on forever, it won't. Delphi's resort to bankruptcy and GM's attempt, with the cooperation of the UAW, to avoid, for now, doing that, suggest that America's welfare state -- its private sector as well as its public-sector components -- is reaching its Herb Stein Moment.
...[I]f you think about the world's major car companies, they're not located in India. Instead, your primary automakers are in the US, Germany, or Japan. Germany, as you may have noticed, is not exactly well-known for its lack of a welfare state. In Japan, too, the people who work for car companies get health care. But Will clever avoids Germany or Japan. Instead we hear about Hyundai.... So what's the deal with South Korea? Lets take a look:
The South Korean government committed itself to making medical security (medical insurance and medical aid) available to virtually the entire population by 1991... the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs coordinated its efforts with those of employers and private insurance firms to achieve this goal. Two programs were established in 1977: the Free and Subsidized Medical Aid Program for people whose income was below a certain level, and a medical insurance program that provided coverage for individuals and their immediate families working in enterprises of 500 people or more. Expenses were shared equally by employers and workers. In 1979 coverage was expanded to enterprises comprising 300 or more people, as well as to civil servants and teachers in private schools. In 1981 coverage was extended to enterprises employing 100 or more people and in 1984 to firms with as few as 16 employees. In that year, 16.7 million persons, or 41.3 percent of the population, had medical insurance. By 1988 the government had expanded medical insurance coverage in rural areas to almost 7.5 million people. As of the end of 1988, approximately 33.1 million people, or almost 79 percent of the population, received medical insurance benefits. At that time, the number of those not receiving medical insurance benefits totaled almost 9 million people, mostly independent small business owners in urban areas. In July 1989, however, Seoul extended medical insurance to cover these self-employed urbanites....
In every major car-making country, auto workers get health care. The difference is that in every major car-making country besides the United States there's a systematic government policy in place trying to make sure that everyone gets health care. This is good policy.... America's private sector welfare state is, indeed, breaking down. But our public sector one isn't breaking down. It's being bankrupted as a matter of deliberate public policy by officials who want to wreck it in order to better afford tax cuts for extremely wealthy individuals.... [T]o pretend that nefarious "globalization" is responsible for it all is absurd. Universal health care is a staple of much more trade-dependent countries than the United States. Nothing is stopping us from doing it except the George Wills of the world.