UPS and Healthcare Reform

Here is an interesting argument taken from The Examiner comparing the current healthcare dilemma to competition between UPS and the US Post Office. It’s worth a read:

“Among other things, these protesters claim that a public option will drive their beloved insurance companies out of business. Before you fall for this argument, consider what happened with mail delivery, but in reverse. It used to be there was only one mail carrier, the U.S. Postal Service. When competition was introduced, companies like Federal Express and United Parcel Service stepped in to offer additional features and benefits, but usually at a higher price.”

“What happened?  Well, we now have choices.  If you want a “Cadillac system” (i.e. overnight delivery) you can choose Fed-Ex.  If you want reliable 2-day delivery, choose UPS. The U.S. Postal Service is arguably more efficient than before, and most of our regular mail is still delivered on time.  Recently, the U.S. Postal Service has even been advertising for fixed price parcel shipments of multiple weights and sizes, anywhere in America.”

“The key thing to remember is if you don’t want to use the proposed public (government) option then you won’t be required to, any more than you are required to use the Post Office for package delivery.  Isn’t this what private enterprise is all about? Personally, I don’t think it will be difficult for private insurance companies to compete with a new public option, especially after they cut the fat salaries of unnecessary middle men, streamline bureaucratic procedures, and implement much needed electronic medical record keeping, privacy scares aside.”

Meanwhile, UPS remains publicly silent on the issue of healthcare reform. The Atlantic-Journal Constitution has this to say on UPS and the currrent battle before Congress:

Atlanta’s biggest businesses have some very big concerns about the proposed reform of health care.

Marquee companies like Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, United Parcel Service and Home Depot aren’t endorsing any of the current plans. Some won’t even discuss the issue publicly.

Most support the general idea of reforming the current system in an effort to stem the soaring cost of providing health care to employees, which by some measures has more than doubled during this decade.

Norman Black, a spokesman for UPS, headquartered in Sandy Springs, said that “as a general rule” the shipping giant supports health care reform. The company has 345,000 U.S. employees and spent $3 billion on health care premiums last year. It provides health care to all employees, even part-timers, many of whom are covered under union contracts.

Ralph J. Neas, CEO of National Coalition on Health Care, said that over the last decade health care costs shot up 120 percent while wages increased only 34 percent.

“We can’t face these kinds of increasing costs forever,” UPS’ Black said. “Eventually it impacts our competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

However, UPS has not taken a position on proposals floating around Congress. And Black said the company is adamant about what should not be in the bill: No new mandates or taxes that would increase costs for employers.

“That’s a non-starter for us,” he said. “ We don’t think any additional costs should be placed on an employer who is already providing comprehensive care.”