In healthcare, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? – Part 3/3

October 30, 2012

What is better, universal health care as China offers its citizens or what Wal-Mart offers its associates/employees?  You decide.

From Making Change at Walmart.org, we learn, “Wal-Mart’s health care plans fail to cover hundreds of thousands of associates. In 2009, Wal-Mart claimed that 52% of associates were covered under their healthcare plan. The company has refused to disclose coverage rates for its 1.4 million U.S. employees since then. [4]

“Wal-Mart stopped offering health insurance to part-time employees (working less than 24 hours per week) in 2012. [5]

Taxpayers are forced to provide healthcare for Walmart’s Associates. Hundreds of thousands of Associates and their family members qualify for publicly funded health insurance. [6] Indeed, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, in 21 of 23 states which have disclosed information, Wal-Mart has the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer. [7]

In fall 2011, Wal-Mart made it even more difficult for associates to get quality health care for themselves and their families. Beginning with the 2012 enrollment period, Wal-Mart rolled back health care coverage for part part-time employees and raised premiums for full-time employees by as much as 63% for non-smokers and their families and as much as 162% for smokers with families. . For employees earning $8.81/hour working an average of 34 hours per week, some of Wal-Mart’s 2012 healthcare plans would cost between 77% and 104% of the employee’s annual gross income. [15]

In fact, there is no universal health care in the United States. What is known as Obamacare in the US is not a universal healthcare plan that is run by the government. It is a healthcare plan that just expands health care through private sector health insurance programs with the government subsidizing the costs of health-care premiums for Americans that do not earn enough money to pay for it so huge corporations such as Wal-Mart will allow the government to subsidize its private sector profits. In addition, if Mitt Romney is elected president and he follows through with his promise to get rid of Obamacare, America’s health care will return to where it was in 2007 and 2008:

The percentage of people without health insurance in 2008 was not statistically different from 2007 at 15.4 percent. The number of uninsured increased to 46.3 million in 2008, from 45.7 million in 2007.

The number of people with health insurance increased to 255.1 million in 2008—up from 253.4 million in 2007. The number of people covered by private health insurance decreased to 201.0 million in 2008—down from 202.0 million in 2007. The number of people covered by government health insurance increased to 87.4 million—up from 83.0 million in 2007

The percentage of people covered by private health insurance was 66.7 percent in 2008—down from 67.5 percent in 2007 (Figure 7). The percentage of people covered by employment-based health insurance decreased to 58.5 percent in 2008, from 59.3 percent in 2007. The number of people covered by employment-based health insurance decreased to 176.3 million in 2008, from 177.4 million in 2007. Source: Census.gov

Maybe now, a few of China’s critics may understand why the Chinese Communist Party and most of China’s people continue to resist becoming a democracy similar to America. Don’t get me wrong. I love my country and I am willing fight for her again(if it was a real threat and not one based on malarkey and lies as Vietnam and Iraq were) as I did in Vietnam in 1966 as a US Marine, but she has some serious problems that will be difficult to solve regardless of who is the next president of the United States. In fact, I think if Mitt Romney is elected, the problems will become worse.

Return to In healthcare, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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In healthcare, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? – Part 2/3

October 29, 2012

To compare universal health care in China to private sector health care, I’m going to use Wal-Mart as an example to explain why we cannot rely on the private sector when it comes to the importance of health care and the quality of life.

In the private sector in the US, Wal-Mart did not achieve success because a sorcerer waved a magic wand and “POOF” suddenly Wal-Mart is everywhere as if a light switch were turned on.  The first Wal-Mart store opened in July 1962. By 1967, there were 24 stores. Today, forty-five years later, Wal-Mart has 2.2 million employees/associates worldwide and serves 200 million customers each week at more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries.

But China’s challenge is to serve 1.3 billion Chinese compared to Wal-Mart providing health care for 2.2 million of its workers. There is a HUGE difference in the numbers and China  hasn’t had forty-five years to build the infrastructure of this new universal health care plan.

Of course, a China critic may point out Wal-Mart’s success because it was a private sector business but that same critic, out of ignorance or by design, will not mention what Christian Science Monitor.com says about Wal-Mart’s health care for its employees:

“In addition to stopping the retaliations and respecting workers’ right to free speech and assembly, OUR Wal-Mart members would like to see the retailer offer more dependable work schedules, affordable healthcare for full-time workers, and a living wage ($13 per hour minimum).

“Wal-Mart has been advertising that they are a family-oriented company. And if this is how family is treated, then I would rather not have a family at all,” says Ms. Cruz.”

In the private sector, the way corporations/businesses treat employees varies from company to company. There is no universal standard of treatment, and there never will be unless the private sector eventually is owned by one global corporation.

Business Insider.com shows how Wal-Mart treats its employees: “Wal-Mart Guts Its Employee Health Care Plan and Raises Premiums—Rates are expected to climb by more than 40 percent for some employees. Combined with high deductibles, employees are complaining that their health care will now eat up to 20 percent of their annual pay.”

Continued on October 30, 2012, In healthcare, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Americans doing Business in China – Part 14/16

March 5, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: China Daily.com says, “The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, says its inventory of stock produced in China is expected to hit US$18 billion this year…”

However, trade is global. Wal-Mart has stores in 26 countries outside the continental US—including China.

Walmart entered the Chinese market and opened its first Supercenter and Sam’s Club in Shenzhen in 1996. Currently, Walmart operates a number of store formats in China including Supercenters, Sam’s Clubs, and Neighborhood Markets. As of August 5, 2010, Walmart had 189 units in 101 cities, and created over 50,000 job opportunities across China.  Source: Wal-Mart China.com

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Guest Post by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption, an international online magazine.

The world is a global market – those businesses that don’t believe this, or embrace it, will go by the wayside.

In 2002, I was an independent manufacturer’s rep and one of my customers said that I should look at branching out – representing products “outside” of the U.S.

I thought this was good advice, so I first started looking in Europe. For many reasons – after trying many companies and products – I decided that Europe was not for me.

I then looked and visited Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China.

I settled on China because I felt that was a country that could best provide me with the products I needed to succeed.

Once I settled on a product category, I then knew that I needed one key person inside China to make it all come together and become successful.

It took me a year to find that person and his name is David. Without David, I would not be where I am today and I am forever indebted to this young man.

David and I had some very productive years together.

Then like most things that are successful – there was a down turn. This was due to the world economy and actions taken by both the Chinese and U.S. Governments.

Through no fault of our own our business died. However, David has stuck with me and I with him. We are now working on new projects that we both hope – and feel – will get us back some of the volume we have had in the past.

I never had a son and David became that son to me. He and his family have also adopted me as part of their own.

It saddens me when I read statements about China and its people that just are not true. I can only testify to my own experiences and connections inside China but I would not trade the relationships I have made for anything.

David and his family are a key part of my life and forever will be – regardless of what the governments of our respective countries might say and do.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued March 6, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 15 or return to Part 13

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This guest post first appeared on September 30, 2010


STEEL (no, not steal) FROM CHINA – Part 1/2

November 24, 2011

I read a post over at So Far From Heaven.com (a blog — not Hades) about US dependence on China for steel.

As usual, when I read a claim and/or complaint of China, I research to see if the complaint holds water.

What I discovered was another leaky myth — the type often generated and spread by Sinophobes in the US.

So Far From Heaven complained the quality of tools in the United States was because of Chinese steel, which, I discovered, has nothing to do with steel produced in China, but more to do with capitalism/consumerism and planned obsolescence.

Britannica.com explains, “This term was supposedly coined after World War II by American industrial designers and writers to indicate industry’s desire to produce consumer items that would be replaced…”

For example, if a US company wants it’s tools to wear out within a specific time frame, the company’s designers and engineers are told to come up with products that will wear out faster needing to be replaced sooner, which boosts profits for the company. That’s what the US calls capitalism 101.

In addition, since most products manufactured in China for the US market are ordered by American companies such as Wal-Mart, Apple, Home Depot and Lowe’s, the contracts often specify exactly how the product is to be manufactured, and the American side of the manufacturing equation decides the quality and life span of the product. If you want to learn more about this process, I suggest visiting the China Law Blog to discover how it works.

In short, if the Chinese factory owners/managers complain, the US company takes the contract to someone that will do what they are told and do it for less.

To discover if the US depends on Chinese produced steel for manufacturing products sold to US consumers, I spent more time Googling (research).

Continued on November 25, 2011 in STEEL (no, not steal) FROM CHINA – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Danger of False Truths – Part 3/3

July 23, 2011

In another e-mail, this “old” friend questioned China’s behavior in Asia and mentioned the disagreement between Vietnam and China over some offshore oil fields that both countries claim.

He felt this was a sign that China would wage war on other countries and inferred this would not happen if China were a democracy similar to the US, since “no democracy has ever gone to war with another democracy” (his words).

Soon after I received that e-mail, I used Google and found Democracies Do Not Make War on One Another … or Do They? by Matthew White, who does a great job throwing ice-cold water on another false truth.

White says, basically, it depends on the definition of democracy and that individuals will shift the meaning of the definition to fit what he or she wants to believe.

To come up with a set of probabilities, White studied the wars that took place in 1967 and came up with these results:

White wrote, “Now, 1967 is just a single year, but I’ve spent a good deal of this Atlas counting democracies. I can state with reasonable certainty that 44.5% of mapable sovereignties during the WW2-Y2K Era were full democracies. This calculates out to…

  • The odds of 2 random democracies going to war: 19.8%
  • The odds of 2 random non-democracies going to war: 30.8%
  • The odds of a random democracy going to war with a random non-democracy: 49.4%

He also mentions an interesting theory that “no two countries with a McDonald’s Restaurant have ever gone to war with one another”, which seems to indicate that as countries are incorporated into the global economy by trans-national corporations, they stop waging war on one another.

This theory is an individual truth that most of us might want to believe since there then should be no worry that the US and China will ever wage war.

In 2009, the US had 13,381 McDonalds and in 2010, China had almost 1,000 with thousands more planned. In addition, China has thousands of Pizza Huts, KFCs, Starbucks and the Chinese love to drive Buicks and Fords. Wal-Mart is even building stores in China.

However, I discovered the McDonald’s theory might be another false truth.

Pakistan has 25 McDonalds and the first one was built in 1998. India has 192 with the first built in 1996, and the last Indo-Pakistani War was in 1999.

Return to The Danger of False Truths – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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