Boeing “Bean Counters” Threatening to Leave Town

Lots of news has come out over the last few days regarding Boeing. Here’s a roundup of some of the big headlines.

Airbus extends air show order lead over Boeing

Airbus has now racked up $11.5 billion in orders and agreements this week, well ahead of Boeing, which notched up its first air show order on Wednesday — a $153 million deal with Japan’s MC Aviation Partners for only two jets.

Boeing shrugged off the Airbus announcements, saying the company doesn’t save up orders to announce at air shows.

Emotionless Boeing considering labor stability for 2nd 787 line

Chicago-based The Boeing Co. says that when it decides where to put a second 787 line, it will do so without emotion and will take labor stability into account.

Boeing’s vice president of airplane programs, Pat Shanahan, said that the decision on where to put a second 787 assembly line will not take a long time.

“There are opportunities that we need to assess and I’ve worked there for 24 years, I like the people in Seattle, I grew up in Seattle, It’s a great community, but when you have the customer telling you you’re making it really hard to choose your product because when we buy it you can’t give it to us,” said Shanahan.

Qatar Airways CEO blasts Boeing, may cancel orders for 787

“The writing is in the wall for Boeing, and they don’t care,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told Dow Jones at the Paris Air Show. “They’re too busy having lunches and dinners.”

“Boeing doesn’t realize how much they’re hurting their customers’ plans,” he said. “They’re very much mistaken if they think we’re going to give them much more time on the issue.”

“Unfortunately, Boeing is not run by commercial people,” Al Baker told a group of journalists here yesterday afternoon. “Boeing is run by bean counters and lawyers. We have some serious issues with them, and if they do not play ball with us, they will be in for a serious surprise.”

Managing the drones: Boeing forms unmanned aircraft division

Boeing is forming a Seattle-based division to focus its efforts to win contracts to supply unmanned aircraft.

Boeing has a broad portfolio of unmanned systems, but has yet to win a major contract from the Pentagon. Boeing’s unmanned aircraft include the ScanEagle, Integrator, Phantom Ray, Hummingbird A160 and HALE.

Boeing still directly employs 73,760 people around the Puget Sound—roughly 40% more than Microsoft and Amazon combined. I certainly hope that Boeing doesn’t decide to begin migrating the majority of its operations elsewhere, and I’m not in a position to judge whether talk from large airlines about switching to Airbus is just corporate posturing, but you can bet that if either of those things do happen, the local economy (and by extension, the housing market) will feel it.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

118 comments:

  1. 1
    deejayoh says:

    IIRC, I read that a 787 assembly line has about 1,100 employees.

  2. 2
    David Losh says:

    I’ll go straight to the heart of the matter that Boeing is engaged in high stakes Union Busting.

    Like the Auto Industry, Boeing has long term labor contracts, Pension, and Benefit Programs they want out of. They are tied here by Real Estate and Plants, but they want to hire “cheaper” labor.

    I’m tired of workers taking the blame for corporate mismanagement. I’ll correct that to say that management is more focused on short term profit than building a product.

    Financial Engineering has been more interested in putting the money to work than providing the service that generates the cash flow.

  3. 3

    So let me get this straight:

    Airlines are threatening to take their business away from Boeing. That means Airbus, right?
    Whose employees are in EU countries, and who all get government health care?

    Maybe it help Boeing if the US government provided health care to it’s citizens?

  4. 4
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    I have to smile a bit when I hear an airline being critical of management. It’s not like airlines are typically well managed. But in any case, after the delays of the A380 did they really think there wouldn’t be delays on the 787? And do they really think Boeing doesn’t realize that the delays are a bad thing?

    What are the prospects of a second 787 line? It really would help avoid labor disputes, but for the fact that the supply system is set up to maximize the number of labor disputes. Rather than setting up a second line, they should be developing their own facilities to replace suppliers who are not up to par.

  5. 5
    anony says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 3 – Well, people wouldn’t be going on strike to maintain health benefits.

    Last I heard, Qatar was pushing hard for the larger 787-10, which Boeing hadn’t committed to yet. I wonder if that is what he was complaining about.

  6. 6
    shawn says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 3 – That’s what Obama means when he says providing health care for all will benefit the economy.

  7. 7

    RE: deejayoh @ 1

    YES DEEJAYOH

    I heard on CNN last night that Boeing outsources 75-80% of the 787; yet I swear we were blogging 90% a couple years ago per local newspaper stories. Perhaps the current media is giving Seattle’s grim employment picture for our commercial aerospace future a bit of pink pony paint?

    1100 employees, Hades, Seatte area Walmarts hire more than that.

    Thank God for defense [it employs about half of Boeing now], if that get’s butcher axed more than this year’s massive Casey cuts [F-22 and FCS], Microsoft is going to see its office orders cut some more too.

  8. 8

    RE: shawn @ 6

    AND WE CAN PAY FOR IT BY BUYING OUR OWN TREASURIES

    With an IRS revenue base 44% less than 2007 for 2008; hence we’ll rob Medicare/Medicaid Peter revenue to pay Health Reform Paul; and rob Peter’s Social Security retirement revenue too.

  9. 9
    WestSideBilly says:

    I’m not sure what Qatar is hoping to accomplish with this. They’re already established as the launch customer for the A350 XWB, whenever it is ready. I know they wanted a 787-10, but given their firm A350 orders, I don’t imagine Boeing really sees a solid market there.

  10. 10
    WestSideBilly says:

    By softwarengineer @ 7:

    RE: deejayoh @ 1

    YES DEEJAYOH

    I heard on CNN last night that Boeing outsources 75-80% of the 787; yet I swear we were blogging 90% a couple years ago per local newspaper stories. Perhaps the current media is giving Seattle’s grim employment picture for our commercial aerospace future a bit of pink pony paint?

    1100 employees, Hades, Seatte area Walmarts hire more than that.

    No idea what the actual percentages are, but Boeing has bought several 787 suppliers because they weren’t able to meet demands. So there would have been a shift in the amount outsourced. And if you’re wondering why the 787 is finally flying in 2009 (soon), rather than 2007, look no further than that 75-80% number.

    Don’t think Wally World pays their employees $20-30+/hr.

  11. 11

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    YOU’RE TOO LOGICAL TODAY KARY

    Airbus has the same problems as Boeing, they could make things better quality, cheaper and on time in their own European Union….the trouble is we’ve been blinded by globalism greed and can’t separate low production aerospace anomalies from high production automobile logic.

    My proof: Detroit hired Boeing’s CEO to get outsourcing directions? LOL

    Here’s a portion of an April 2007 blog record I keep on one of my own softwarengineer websites:

    “…Did you know Airbus is cancelling about half its outsourced subcontractors, BECAUSE THEY CHARGE TOO MUCH and the company can prosper better with just protectionist European Manufacturing:

    See the proof:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/business/20070228-102955-4288r.htm

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1733668/posts

    Gee, Boeing is gaining ground because Airbus OUTSOURCED TOO MUCH….lol….”

    This will be Seattle in 2011, after the Detroit syle outsourcing?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/107206/retailers-head-for-exits-in-detroit.html;_ylt=Av5M_36BQ_0ZJz3FYLTBF3aCfNdF?mod=family-autos

  12. 12
    Scotsman says:

    A couple billion Chinese and a billion Indians could probably build a pretty decent plane if given the chance, and could certainly do it at a lower cost. It’s definitely going to be up-hill for the lazy b from here.

  13. 13

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 10

    HI WESTSIDE BILLY

    If Boeing bought the suppliers, assuming that’s what happenned….were they in Japan or China, etc?

    I doubt Boeing is going to move the factories to Seattle if that’s the case; so little good it does Seattle’s economy?

  14. 14
    jon says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 3:

    Maybe it help Boeing if the US government provided health care to it’s citizens?

    And free cars and houses too. And fix me a sandwich for lunch while I surf the net.

  15. 15
    Joel says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 3:

    So let me get this straight:

    Airlines are threatening to take their business away from Boeing. That means Airbus, right?
    Whose employees are in EU countries, and who all get government health care?

    Maybe it help Boeing if the US government provided health care to it’s citizens?

    Uh, that’s quite a leap.

    How about:

    Whose employees are in EU countries, and who all use DVB-T for digital TV broadcasts?

    Maybe it help Boeing if the US government forced TV stations to switch to DVB-T?

  16. 16
    Dave says:

    Man – you can tell something is permeating the national consciousness when it makes a real estate/business blog.

    I have to comment on Health Care.
    I’m Canadian. I’ve lived in the US adecade and I’m 35 now. Health care is amazingly better in Canada that it is in the US. People in the US who are told it is worse are lying to you (knowingly or unknowlingly).
    I have an excellent, employer provided plan here – it is a really good plan. We’re expecting. Last month my wife and I were informed that we had maxed out her anti-nausea med’s (she has cripplingly bad nausea this time around – don’t need to go into why) and they wouldn’t pay for anymore until 3 weeks out. Nausea so bad she coudln’t move, eat, or drink. Insurance company told us the have a “policy” that you can only get so much and she woudl have to wait 3 weeks. Doctors office pushed to get more – were threatened with an investigation on why so much was being used. Insulting.

    Would it break me to pay cash? No – not the point.

    Cut to Canada. My aging parents have alot of things wrong – chronic conditions. Let’s just deal with my diabetic/renal failure/liver failure 65 year old father who fell in Feb. and broke a femur. No extra charge – 2 months of hospitalization and all associated costs were covered. They had to pay for cable TV – that’s is. My parents would have been bankrupt several times over (and probabaly dead by now) if the medical system wasn’t looking out for them.

    Costs to that? Higher taxes and not sending the majority of your tax revenue to your military. Higher taxes are a pain sure – but I’ve got a 100/paycheck premium to cover my family. I imagine the increased taxes woudl be close to that. You pay one way or the other and in Canada THEY CANNOT TURN YOU DOWN FOR TREATMENT OR MEDS. Just think about that – you would never have to worry about the cost of getting sick.

    The service issues referenced everywhere? Sure – it can take time for somethings – and some peole don’t like waiting in line. Critical stuff happens – optional stuff waits. There are other issues too – but I can’t see how they compete with things like bankruptcy and the risk of destrctuion of your financial future.

    The world (in this regards) has it better than the US – why can’t the US see that?

    Comments?
    Dave

  17. 17
    jon says:

    RE: Dave @ 16 – If you read the US Constitution, it describes a small central government that provides for a common defense of mostly independent states. So it is not surprising the military spending would be a large fraction of its expenses. It would probably come as a surprise to the founders the extent of our focus on foreign intervention, but the fact is there is a Pax Americana in the world that is unprecedented. That does not come for free. With NKorea making wildly belligerent moves, China building up for an assault on Taiwan, Russia making moves to claim the Arctic ocean and previous satellite nations, and Pakistan and soon Iran becoming highly unstable nuclear powers, the threats are not diminishing.

    Providing health care for people whether they work or not is perhaps a noble goal, but we have nowhere near enough money for our present obligations let alone new ones. If that makes other countries better than us so be it, but I like living in a world of free people. If the EU and other countries want to step up their contributions they are welcome to do so. In the meantime we are grateful for Canadian assistance in Afghanistan and I expect we will continue to let their soldiers ride on our planes when they need to go into combat.

  18. 18
    Mark says:

    RE: Dave @ 16
    Our constitution provides for a common defense and a certain segment of the population takes that to mean that the US is the worlds policeman.

    As far as health care goes, we need to funnel 20% of that spending to insurance companies that provide nothing at all to health care. That is what we call efficiency. The insurance industry is a useless layer of bumbling bureaucracy added on top of healthcare and that is what we call the free market.

  19. 19
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Scotsman @ 12:

    A couple billion Chinese and a billion Indians could probably build a pretty decent plane if given the chance, and could certainly do it at a lower cost. It’s definitely going to be up-hill for the lazy b from here.

    It’d be pretty hard to build a plane out of lead. And really, who’s going to want to ride in it?

  20. 20
    anony says:

    RE: Joel @ 15 – Joel, I don’t believe they specifically mentioned labor disputes over DBT-T TV as a reason to go with European planes. They did specifically mention labor disputes over health care and benefits, which European countries wouldn’t be subject to. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  21. 21
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 19

    I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

    India and China are both quite capable of designing and building to the highest criteria. Do some reading on the problems with Chinese knock-offs on all levels from watches to ipods, computers to missle guidence systems, etc. and you’ll understand what the threat is.

    Plus, both have ready made and rapidly growing domestic markets for their own products, and better access than we to the growing SE Asia markets. I’m afraid you’re stuck in the 1960’s again Kary with your sinophobic comments.

  22. 22
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Dave @ 16

    I wonder what Canada’s health care and economy in general would look like if you had to pay for your own defense?

  23. 23

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 19

    I’M WITH YOU KARY

    This blind globalism isn’t scientific at all. I think from my gut a lot, sometimes you have to [the data isn’t there], but blind globalists think where the light don’t shine?

    Here’s an excerpt from one of my websites:

    “….Thursday, June 26, 2008
    UNCONTROLLED GROWTH KILLING TECHNOLOGY THAT COULD
    PULL THE WORLD OUT OF RECESSION

    I was doing some techie search engine analyses and discovered an interesting anomaly. The World Economic Forum’s Annual IT Ratings have apparently been eliminated. The last publication of them was April 2007. See the proof:

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070403-world-economic-forum-releases-annual-it-rankings-us-slides.html?rel

    Here’s the April 2007 results:

    Top 10 countries by Networked Readiness IndexSource: World Economic Forum (full list available as a PDF)Country 2006-07 rank 2005-06 rank Denmark 1 3 Sweden 2 8 Singapore 3 2 Finland 4 5 Switzerland 5 9 Netherlands 6 12 United States 7 1 Iceland 8 4 United Kingdom 9 10 Norway 10 13 Mexico was rated 49, Japan 19, China 59 and India 44; way below the top ten in IT and communications technological innovation.

    All this data suggests a positive proof to a basic assertion; those countries (like European countries) who control population growth do well in technological innovation [like it or not].Coincidentally, the 2008 follow on annual data was apparently eliminated. Perhaps the truth about technology ratings contradicts many decisions made in America to utilize more technology outsourcing away from expertise countries to subpar overpopulated ones; to save labor costs? Irrespective, the truth shines out anyway in 2008, documenting per capita income food impacts globally causing a systematic financial risk. See the proof:

    http://www.weforum.org/pdf/globalrisk/report2008.pdf

    We must restrain uncontrolled growth worldwide ASAP or the house of cards balanced on peak oil will tumble soon. Decreased per capita incomes is fueling the house price collapses worldwide as greed for lower (even technologically subpar) labor rates and more uncontrolled growth blinds us to make the housing collapse worse and in my opinion, no end in sight….”

    The June 2008 WEF report also indicated a recession in America hadn’t occurred yet [written about 1 year ago].

  24. 24
    anony says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 22 – Who would attack Canada?

    I’d say their biggest security threat is being next door to the US, combined with the current horrible inaccuracy of North Korean ballistic missiles.

    2nd biggest threat, polar bears.

  25. 25
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 21 – It means that the Chinese have repeatedly tried to kill us with lead in their products (or poisons), so why would anyone trust their products? I’m sure they’re capable of pushing a plane out of a hanger door, but I sure wouldn’t want to get into one of the things. I wouldn’t buy one of their cars either.

    I don’t know the answer to this, but is any of the 787 made in China? I seem to recall something was, but I’m not sure.

  26. 26
    jon says:

    A country that can’t make safe baby formula can’t make safe airplanes.

  27. 27
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: jon @ 26 – The bad baby formulas reduce the number of fatalities when schools collapse.

  28. 28
    Dave says:

    Hi Guys

    Some responses:

    Jon@17
    Providing health care for people whether they work or not is perhaps a noble goal, but we have nowhere near enough money for our present obligations let alone new ones.

    Question – If not your population – what exactly are you defending? Doesn’t it make sense to keep your population healthy?
    Also – bigger question. Why does everyone say it is an either or situation? Really – a small fraction of the defense budget coudl supply what is needed. Thoughts?

    “In the meantime we are grateful for Canadian assistance in Afghanistan and I expect we will continue to let their soldiers ride on our planes when they need to go into combat. ”

    Alot of my countrymen died while yours were fighting an unecessary war against someone who didn’t attack you. We were fighting the people that did attack you. A little respect is warranted.

    Scotsman @22
    I wonder what Canada’s health care and economy in general would look like if you had to pay for your own defense?

    We have 30 some million people. Along time ago it was decided to run defense liek it is run now. We coudln’t follow the American model if we wanted too – our contry is biggger with less than 10% the economy. No way it is sustainable. Either way we woudln’t pay for the defense the way you guys do.

    Thoughts?

    Dave

  29. 29
    Ross Jordan says:

    RE: jon @ 17

    “Providing health care for people whether they work or not is perhaps a noble goal, but we have nowhere near enough money for our present obligations let alone new ones. ”

    Except that the US federal government already pays more on a per capita basis for health care than so-called socialized countries such as Canada, France, Denmark etc. In other words, a higher percentage of US taxes go towards healthcare than in Canada. I think the problem here is the _cost_ of healthcare. If those costs can be reduced to a reasonable price, then privatized or socialized health insurance can be affordable.

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_and_American_health_care_systems_compared
    “Health care is one of the most expensive items of both nations’ budgets. In the United States, the various levels of government spend more per capita on health care than levels of government do in Canada. In 2004, Canada government-spending was $2,120 (in US dollars) per person on health care, while the United States government-spending $2,724.[11]

    However, U.S. government-spending covers less than half of all health care costs. Private spending for health care is also far greater in the U.S. than in Canada. In Canada, an average of $917 was spent annually by individuals or private insurance companies for health care, including dental, eye care, and drugs. In the U.S., this sum is $3,372.[11] In 2006, health care consumed 15.3% of U.S. annual GDP. In Canada, only 10% of GDP was spent on health care.[5] This difference is a relatively recent development. In 1971 the nations were much closer, with Canada spending 7.1% of GDP on health while the U.S. spent 7.6%.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_the_United_States
    “One analysis of international spending levels in the year 2000 found that while the U.S. spends more on health care than other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the use of health care services in the U.S. is below the OECD median by most measures. The authors of the study concluded that the prices paid for health care services are much higher in the U.S.”

    More stats comparing OECD countries:
    http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/chcm010307oth.cfm

    The US can, in fact, afford to increase health care benefits if they were able to get health care costs down to what the rest of the developed world pays for its health care.

  30. 30
    Mikal says:

    RE: Ross Jordan @ 29 – You are correct sir.

  31. 31
    jon says:

    RE: Ross Jordan @ 29 – “The US can, in fact, afford to increase health care benefits if they were able to get health care costs down to what the rest of the developed world pays for its health care. ”

    If that were in fact true, the news we are getting out of Washington, DC would be very different that it is now. The CBO additional cost estimates started at $1 Trillion for 10 years and are up to $1.7 Trillion already. The nature of these things is that the actual costs will far exceed the initial estimates because they assume people continue their previous behavior. But with the new incentives people in fact will change their behavior to take advantage, and so costs will go even higher. How long will China fund our ever increasing deficit so we can pay our own hospital bills?

    If we want to cut medical costs greatly, what we need to do is put some control on bogus malpractice suits. The direct cost to doctors and hospitals of malpractice insurance is enormous, and it has indirect costs of unnecessary tests and longer hospital stays. It also makes the field unattractive to current and future doctors and so makes it more expensive to provide the incentives for people to take the risk of many years of study and a huge debt only to have their career end because of some gold digger.

  32. 32
    Mikal says:

    RE: jon @ 31 – And you are basing that on what facts.

  33. 33
    WestSideBilly says:

    By softwarengineer @ 13:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 10

    HI WESTSIDE BILLY

    If Boeing bought the suppliers, assuming that’s what happenned….were they in Japan or China, etc?

    I doubt Boeing is going to move the factories to Seattle if that’s the case; so little good it does Seattle’s economy?

    I think they were mostly smaller American companies.

  34. 34
    WestSideBilly says:

    By jon @ 26:

    A country that can’t make safe baby formula can’t make safe airplanes.

    That’s a horrible generalization. The faults of one company apply to the entire country?

    China’s aerospace consortium is working on a 70-100 seat jet called the ARJ-21. It has already flown and has several hundred orders, including some from GE’s aircraft leasing group. They could be FAA certified by 2010 or 2011, and flying in the US by 2013.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACAC_ARJ21

    If they establish a track record of reliability, I fully expect ACAC to have a 130-160 seat competitor to the A319 and 737-700 by 2018 or so.

  35. 35
    WestSideBilly says:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/106915-the-arj-21-and-china-s-long-slow-climb-to-the-skies

    Good summary of China’s aerospace aspirations. The author puts the 737/A320 competitor in 2020.

  36. 36
    Dave says:

    Jon at 31
    Brought to you by the AMA!
    Jon – you an MD?

    Dave

  37. 37
    David Losh says:

    RE: jon @ 31

    It’s the malpractice insurance premiums that doctors complain about.

    The problem is that insurance companies make money coming and going. They do not care who is right or wrong. they settle lawsuits on a cost basis. If a case will cost less to settle the insurance company just settles. That’s what drives up the cost of the insurance and the premiums.

    The insurance industry blames the lawyers and uses the term “frivolous” law suits. In fact the insurance industry has thousands of lawyers on the pay roll and call it the cost of doing business.

    So the lawyers don’t fight the system and doctors get the majority of their income from the insurance industry. It’s just more cost of doing business that is passed along.

    As for the $1.7 trillion dollar cost over the next ten years it says in the report this does not take into account the savings.

    We all pay for the health insurance system. Our taxes pay for the highest risk patients. Medicare and Medicaid pay for the elderly and welfare clients that probably include drug addicts. Veterans Administration pays for the military, very high risk. Corporations pass on the cost of health care benefits to the consumer.

    Last, but not least is the cost of the health insurance industry. The number of 20% added cost seems about right.

  38. 38
    NotHere says:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 35

    You don’t have to go that far
    http://www.embraer.com

    It would be interesting to know what would it take for them to build a large plane since they already know how to build a small one.

  39. 39
    jon says:

    RE: Dave @ 36 – No, but several members of my immediate family are, and friends also, so I hear about some ridiculous cases and the problems and stress they result in.

    The difference between health insurance and malpractice insurance is enormous. Health insurance prices result from market competition, and so there are people now looking to squeeze every dime out of the cost structure. Malpractice insurances results from the court system, with minimal interference from the legislature thanks the trial lawyer lobby. As such there is no one with both the incentive and ability contain those costs and they have exploded. The voters are the only ones who could select leaders to do that, and the voters have been bamboozled to think that the problem is at the health insurance layer. They believe that because those are the designated bad guys that cut off your pills. But their margins are small and they have every incentive and ability to eliminate unneeded costs, except those required as a result of the behavior the malpractice lawsuit industry.

    (And they would gladly give you your pills to save the expense of listening to your complaints, except for the liability they would have if a relative turned around and sued them for giving out too many powerful meds.)

  40. 40
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 34 – Hardly one company was at fault for all the problems with China’s consumer products in the past year or two, not to mention the construction of their schools.

  41. 41
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By David Losh @ 37:

    RE: jon @ 31 – The problem is that insurance companies make money coming and going. They do not care who is right or wrong. they settle lawsuits on a cost basis. If a case will cost less to settle the insurance company just settles. That’s what drives up the cost of the insurance and the premiums. .

    Actually, if it costs less to settle, that’s what keeps the premiums low.

    The reason the insurance companies want restrictions is they want to limit their exposure.

  42. 42
    jon says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 40:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 34 – Hardly one company was at fault for all the problems with China’s consumer products in the past year or two, not to mention the construction of their schools.

    Unless you consider the Communist Party that runs the place and its corruption system a company.

  43. 43
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By NotHere @ 38:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 35 – It would be interesting to know what would it take for them to build a large plane since they already know how to build a small one.

    Hey, I should be competing with Boeing by now. For about the past 45 years I’ve known how to make a paper airplane. ;-)

  44. 44
    jon says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 41 – “Actually, if it costs less to settle, that’s what keeps the premiums low.”

    It’s like paying ransom to a kidnapper. Yeah, you solve that problem but now people have incentive to make the problems even worse.

  45. 45
    Scotsman says:

    Here are the four largest U.S. health care companies, along with their EIBT, or earnings before interest expenses and taxes, as a percentage of revenues:

    1. UnitedHealth Group – 6.5%

    2. WellPoint – 4.0%

    3. Aetna – 6.2%

    4. Humana – (net) 2.0%

    With EBIT in the 4-6% range, and nets a third of that, it’s hard for me to see how they are ripping off the consumer.

    Again, it’s state interference that messes it up, and a lack of connection cost wise between the consumer and the health provider and insurance companies.

    Anytime you give something away for free, demand is going to escalate, in this case well beyond any body’s predictions. I continue to predict one huge f*#k’n disaster.

    The good news? I don’t think it will pass in the end.

  46. 46
    Dave says:

    Jon

    -Would you be surprised to know that there are liability caps on malpractice suits in Canada? I think it’s around 100,000.00 decided by judge not jury.

    The states has always treated malpractice as a version of the lottery – especially when juires hand out the awards.

    Dave

  47. 47
    jon says:

    RE: Dave @ 46 – I didn’t know that, but I would expect something like that would is the reason why costs are so high in the US but outcomes are no better. That means that a huge amount of effort and expense are being spent on something that has no health benefit. That cost would be because of pre-emptive defense against malpractice lawsuits. That is evidence that we could bring down costs to the level of other developed countries without reducing the level of health care simply by putting caps on malpractice awards here as well. But that is a gigantic pile of money and the trial lawyer lobby will do anything and vilify anyone to protect it.

  48. 48
    db says:

    I’m just going to chime in on the health care thing as an actual Scotsman (no offense Scotsman if your an actual Scot). I have first hand NHS experience.

    I’m with the Canadian somewhere above. Americans do not realize how awful health care is in this country. Sure, you can get the best if you can afford it, but if you can’t your up sh*t creek.

    The US spends more per capita on health care than any other industrialized nation but has much worse health outcomes. If so many other countries spend less per capita (and get better outcomes) the sensible thing to do (as a society) is copy what they’re doing. Provide government health care and cover everybody. The net result will be better for individuals, companies, and the economy.

  49. 49
    Scotsman says:

    RE: db @ 48

    If other countries had to deal with our population, they would have worse or similar results. Even my Scottish homeland.

    Here’s the facts- fully a third of our population is clinically obese, and well over half are seriously over weight. Those numbers aren’t true for any other large national population, hence no other nation has the health care burden that the U.S. has. It’s been estimated that costs in the U.S. could be reduced by a third if incentives were in place to control obesity. In short, have the obese pay their fair share, giving them an incentive to diet. But you’ll never hear any politician talk about this, or be critical of “fat” people, because those same people are their constituents.

    But it won’t pass. America is so close to broke that none of these grand scheme will come to pass, in large part because those in charge know that the “expected cost savings” are a farce, and the true foundation of cost shifting can’t be sustained. Watch California, and wait and see.

  50. 50
    Jbeans says:

    Having also lived under both a universal (so-called “socialist”) plan and the US health care system, I have to agree wholeheartedly with Dave and db above. The health care system in the US is a disaster. We already subsidize care for the uninsured — the difference when a person can’t pay is made up for by what doctors/hospitals charge the insurance companies. (Go find out what the cash price is for lab tests, doctor visits, hospitalizations — it’s often substantially less than what the insurance companies pay.)

    Most people would probably pay LESS in taxes to fund universal healthcare than they now pay in monthly premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, plus the hidden costs of covering the uninsured.

    Universal healthcare is going to come in part because big companies want those expenses off their backs. And it’s going to come because continuing on the path we are on is going to lead to paying more and more to get less and less actual health care. I wish the politicians would stop arguing about whether to go to a universal system and spend their efforts on creating the best system possible.

  51. 51
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 45

    So you didn’t read my comments.

    In insurance they get paid coming and going. They have administrative costs. They also have profits.

    It’s like the bank of America executive who gets $15 million in pay while the bank gets our tax dollars. That’s the American business model.

  52. 52
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 49

    Thank you for another example of why we need to get health care out of the for profit system.

    Like I said you didn’t read my comments. You are having a knee jerk reaction to the topic.

    It took considerable effort by a lot of people to get the American Medical Association to admit cigarette smoking was a health risk. To even have your doctor say that diet and exercises might help your health was like pulling teeth without Novocain.

    The for profit system would rather sell you pills to mask a problem than treat it.

  53. 53
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 41

    It’s the volume of the frivolous suits that is the expense. The probability of a settlement is what keeps the law suits coming.

  54. 54
    Jonness says:

    I got an email from Christine today saying WA tax revenues are falling into the sewer. We’re down almost $700 million more than forecast for the quarter. Perhaps she should start having me do the budget analysis. I can do it cheaper and better. Here’s a free one for next quarter, Expect more tax losses. :)

  55. 55
    Scotsman says:

    David, just for you. Good night. ;-)

    The Obamacare horror story you won’t hear
    by Michelle Malkin
    Creators Syndicate
    Copyright 2009

    The White House, Democrats, and MoveOn liberals are spreading health care sob stories to sell a government takeover. But there’s one health care policy nightmare you won’t hear the Obamas hyping. It’s a tale of poor, minority patient-dumping in Chicago — with First Lady Michelle Obama’s fingerprints all over it.

    Both Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Democrat Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago have raised red flags about the outsourcing program, run by the University of Chicago Medical Center. The hospital has non-profit status and receives lucrative tax breaks in exchange for providing charity care. Yet, it spent a measly $10 million on charity care for the poor in fiscal 2007 when Mrs. Obama was employed there—1.3 percent of its total hospital expenses, according to an analysis performed for The Washington Post by the non-partisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. The figure is below the 2.1 percent average for nonprofit hospitals in surrounding Cook County.

    Rep. Rush called for a House investigation last week in response to months of patient-dumping complaints, noting: “Congress has a duty to expend its power to mitigate and prevent this despicable practice from continuing in centers that receive federal funds.”

    Don’t expect the president to support a probe. While a top executive at the hospital, Mrs. Obama helped engineer the plan to offload low-income patients with non-urgent health needs. Under the Orwellian banner of an “Urban Health Initiative,” Mrs. Obama sold the scheme to outsource low-income care to other facilities as a way to “dramatically improve health care for thousands of South Side residents.” The program guaranteed “free” shuttle rides to and from the outside clinics.

    In truth, it was old-fashioned cost-cutting and favor-trading repackaged as minority aid. Clearing out the poor freed up room for insured (i.e., more lucrative) patients. If a Republican had proposed the very same program and recruited black civic leaders to front it, Michelle Obama and her grievance-mongering friends would be screaming “RAAAAAAAAACISM!” at the top of their lungs.

    Joe Stephens of the Washington Post wrote: “To ensure community support, Michelle Obama and others in late 2006 recommended that the hospital hire the firm of David Axelrod, who a few months later became the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Axelrod’s firm recommended an aggressive promotional effort modeled on a political campaign—appoint a campaign manager, conduct focus groups, target messages to specific constituencies, then recruit religious leaders and other third-party ‘validators.’ They, in turn, would write and submit opinion pieces to Chicago publications.”

    Some health care experts saw through Mrs. Obama and her public relations man, David Axelrod—yes, the same David Axelrod who is now Mr. Obama’s senior adviser at the White House. The University of Chicago Medical Center hired Axelrod’s public relations firm, ASK Public Strategies, to promote Mrs. Obama’s Urban Health Initiative. Axelrod had the blessing of Chicago political guru Valerie Jarrett – now White House senior adviser.

    Axelrod’s great contribution: Re-branding! His firm recommended re-naming the initiative after “[i]nternal and external respondents expressed the opinion that the word ‘urban’ is code for ‘black’ or ‘black and poor’….Based on the research, consideration should be given to re-branding the initiative.” Axelrod and the Obama campaign refused to disclose how much his firm received for its genius re-branding services.

    In February 2009, outrage in the Obamas’ community exploded after a young boy covered by Medicaid was turned away from the University of Chicago Medical Center. Dontae Adams’ mother, Angela, had sought emergency treatment for him after a pit bull tore off his upper lip. Mrs. Obama’s hospital gave the boy a tetanus shot, antibiotics, and Tylenol and shoved him out the door. The mother and son took an hour-long bus ride to another hospital for surgery.

    I’ll guarantee you this: You’ll never see the Adams family featured at an Obama policy summit or seated next to the First Lady at a joint session of Congress to illustrate the failures of the health care system.

    Following the Adams incident, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) blasted Mrs. Obama and Mr. Axelrod’s grand plan. The group released a statement expressing “grave concerns that the University of Chicago’s policy toward emergency patients is dangerously close to ‘patient dumping,’ a practice made illegal by the Emergency Medical Labor and Treatment Act (EMTALA)” – signed by President Reagan, by the way – “and reflected an effort to ‘cherry pick’ wealthy patients over poor.”

    Rewarding political cronies at the expense of the poor while posing as guardians of the downtrodden? Welcome to Obamacare.

  56. 56
    what goes up must come down says:

    RE: jon @ 17 – Jon the founding fathers never imagined a standing army.

  57. 57
    what goes up must come down says:

    Scotsman you never reacted DIRECTLY to Dave or other people’s points just fluff from you on this.

  58. 58
    Dave says:

    Scotsman – seriously? Malkin? Really? You consider that a counter point?
    Actually you are exhibiting a well known trend for those arguing against universal health care. You try to change topics to something miniscule and pointless and get the spotlight off the facts.

    I’m talking about 40 million people completely uninsured in this country – and the tragedy that they are denied a better system. You bring up a hack pundit? What – was Rush too stoned or O’Reilly too…busy in the shower?

    Really?
    Kind of beneath you – isn’t it?

  59. 59
    mukoh says:

    Scotsman, you have no idea what you are talking about. You are off in La La land.

    I am on the board of a local company in the P.S. sector, the insurance premiums are racking up to $8k a month for 21 of the regular staff not counting board of directors and such. Every year we budget for 20% increase, and it turns out a 25% increase is coming at the end of our fiscal this time around. You think there might be job cuts since it will become cheaper to put a bit more work on 19 of the employees rather then pay extra $2k a month in health care? This is where also jobs are lost, especially for people who are over 55 whose premiums shoot up through the roof.

    A friend of mine had to let go of employees as the overhead because of insurance became unbearable.

  60. 60
    jon says:

    By what goes up must come down @ 56:

    RE: jon @ 17 – Jon the founding fathers never imagined a standing army.

    True, but at least the President is named as the Commander in Chief. There is no mention of a Health Care Provider in Chief. A supporting the general welfare does not give them the authority to rack up trillions of dollars of additional debt that will be passed on to later generations in order to provide a cradle to grave security blanket to people whether they work or not. People who are truly disabled are one thing, but free and equal care to everyone is completely a different thing.

  61. 61
    jon says:

    RE: Dave @ 58 – He is simply pointing out that since Barack has little to no relevant administrative experience, we are forced to look to how his wife handled similar things on her previous job to see how rhetoric gets converted into reality. That one hospital is not a large part of the health care industry numerically, but it a strong indicator of where we are all headed because of who made those decisions and how they inform Barack’s thinking.

  62. 62
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Dave @ 58

    OK, Dave- here’s a counterpoint. According to the bi-partisan CBO, after all of the market adjustments and cost shifting, it’s going to cost just under $2.0 trillion ($1.6T plus the financing costs) to reduce by about 1/3 the number of uninsured citizens.

    That’s about $60,000 per new citizen insured, per year. That must be some plan. I hear everything is free. At least until they run out of other people’s money.

    Please explain to me how that’s an improvement.

    Regarding Malkin, are there any facts in her p[piece you want to dispute?

  63. 63
    Jbeans says:

    I didn’t even bother to read Malkin’s piece. She has no credibility. And I don’t like red herring.

    Scotsman, what part of “we are already subsidizing care for the uninsured” did you not understand? At least with the government there’s SOME transparency and accountability. Do you know currently how much you are paying to help provide health care to the uninsured?

  64. 64
    shawn says:

    Too often people do one half of the analysis. Providing health care to all costs money. Yes, true. End of story, nope.

    The rest of the story is that when people with no insurance get sick, they go to the hospital’s emergency room. Guess who pays? And pays more. If people go to a clinic early on, and get preventative care the cost is less to the tax payers.

    A full analysis looks at all probable outcomes, all probable scenarios, not just one side of the argument. After we have all scenarios and outcomes, then we can make decisions on criteria such as cost.

    In this case not providing insurance to the uninsured costs us more.

  65. 65
    jon says:

    By Jbeans @ 63:

    Scotsman, what part of “we are already subsidizing care for the uninsured” did you not understand? At least with the government there’s SOME transparency and accountability. Do you know currently how much you are paying to help provide health care to the uninsured?

    Sure, the insured subsidize the uninsured under the current system. According to one of the links someone gave above, 87% of Americans have insurance. So we have a tax on 87% to subsidize the rest. And people want to change that to come from another system of tax. Fine, I don’t really care. But that is not going to result in a single dime of savings. On the contrary, the disincentivization will lead to massive waste like government subsidies always do. And it will lead to a loss of control of our lives for the 87% of us who are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

  66. 66
    Mark says:

    RE: jon @ 65
    Most people already have a socialist system in place. Health insurance is provided by their employers. Most Americans are afraid that if their health insurance is switched from being provided by their employers to a government run system their taxes will be raised. In other words, the premiums would be paid by the taxpayer instead of being paid by the employer.

  67. 67
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: Dave @ 16 – you are so wrong. My cousin lives in Canada and has MS. They won’t supply her with the advanced meds that my aunt with MS gets in the states.

    Also heard the horror stories about wait times at dinner with a Canadian team. One lady said it becomes all about connections. She had to get a favor from a government official in order to get her father in before he wasted away to nothing.

  68. 68
    Hugh Dominic says:

    Hey we’re not only paying for the worlds defense, we are paying the worlds health R&D costs too. They can charge more here, so they do.

  69. 69
    what goes up must come down says:

    HD so what is your point? You think we pay for the worlds defense for the worlds sake? Give me a break we do what we do out of OUR own interest period, and that goes for about everything else. If US companies don’t think there is money in something for them they don’t do it, and I would extend that to most US citizens too, we aren’t this country of noble givers — we do what is in our best interest. NOW is that all bad — NOPE but don’t kid yourself or try to blow that smoke.

  70. 70
    David Losh says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 67

    You are very right.

    Let me ask you this. Why on one hand do we talk about pills being cheaper to buy in Canada and on the other hand your cousin can’t afford the pills you can get in the United States?

  71. 71
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 62

    Is that math correct? $60,000 per person, per year for health care?

  72. 72
    David Losh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 55

    This is a red herring, but fine, let’s talk about patient dumping.

    As you have more and more, and more uninsured more patients end up at the emergency rooms. Once those emergency rooms, and associated clinics are full or have hit a budget capacity they begin sending patients, elsewhwere.

    I’m sure the point of the article is that as Ms. Obama thought she could step in and “fix’ some part of an extremely over burdened system and was unsuccessful.

    It’s kind of what is going on here in these comments. People have no idea how the medical profession, or more to the point, Health Insurance operates,and yet every one has an opinion. In the mean time kids like Dontae Adams go untreated.

    We all talk about a broken system that works sporadiacly with a lot of band aid policies in place to “fix” it. The fact is that doctors and hospitals should be allowed to do thier jobs.

    Profit has a place. Like in war, when people are put in harms way, profit should be a secondary consideration.

    We need to get the 1300 health insurance medical plans out of the way and deal with a sole provider.

  73. 73
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By jon @ 44:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 41 – “Actually, if it costs less to settle, thatâ��s what keeps the premiums low.”

    It’s like paying ransom to a kidnapper. Yeah, you solve that problem but now people have incentive to make the problems even worse.

    The difference is, contrary to popular belief, attorneys don’t tend to bring frivolous claims on a contingent fee basis.

  74. 74
    jimmythev says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 67

    Ok… just to clarify some FUD that likes to be thrown out there… I am Canadian, living in the US so I have experienced both systems. Now… I currently have Microsoft coverage here in Seattle… and that’s the best you can get anywhere in the US… so when compared to Canada, yes it’s better, but not by leaps and bounds. That being said, I have friends who work full time with much less coverage from different companies, and I can honestly say the Canadian System is better for the majority of the population. I’ve never had to wait for anything major and only minor waits for certain elective surgeries… Both parents have had cancer and were in treatment within 2 days of the diagnosis… Is the Canadian system perfect, no, but look at the stats in terms of Average Life Expectancy, Infant mortality, quality of life… and the US is way down on the list relative to most western industrialized countries. US healthcare is the best in the world if you can afford it… if not, you’re screwed. Oh, and healthcare is hardly a candidate to utilize “Free Market Forces”… when you’re in a car accident, you’re not going to shop around for the best price and value…

  75. 75
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 55RE: Scotsman @ 55

    Sorry for the long post. But as with real estate debt, I think one of the largest problems is dealing with the 30 trillion in future costs that the system can’t pay for.

    I don’t want to belittle the horror in healthcare and the sadness in individual anecdotes. But I think the M. Obama example, at least in part, shows what happens when market forces are allowed to make the decisions, which they often do even in the non-profit arena. Healthcare providers, including non-profits, believe they lose money on medicare and medicaid. If they can come up with a means to argue that they are playing by the rules and cut their down side by “dumping” medicare and medicaid patients on other institutions, they will. That’s market forces at work.

    Even “non-profit” entities have to cover their costs or risk going out of business. The CEO’s of non-profits make big bucks too (far more than the Drs), and they justify their salary by keeping costs down, revenues up, and service levels acceptable. The M. Obama example shows that there is hipocrisy in the non-profit system, but it doesn’t prove that market forces would have done more for either a particular child or the American public in general.

    The bitter pill that the American public and the healthcare providers will grapple with is that in order to significantly cut costs in the healthcare system you are either going to have to cut service, or cut what healthcare workers are paid or both. Market forces can be the tool to make these things happen, but even assuming that market forces will increase innovation, it is unlikely that innovation will significantly decrease costs in the foreseeable future unless you cut services or pay.

    Healthcare workers in the US make a lot more than the workers in Canada and the EU. I’m not an objective source as to whether that’s right. I know too many people in the healthcare industry. My wife’s a doctor and she works harder than any other person I know. Decreasing malpractice coverage costs is a start, but it’s only a limited part of the equation.

    The bottom line is that if you want to decrease health care costs in America, someone is going to have to get less. The American public will get less healthcare services, or the healthcare workers will get less pay, or a combination of both.

    I agree that market forces have certain advantages and that some kind of co-pay and deductible are reasonable so that patients have some incentive not to over use a scarce resource. I also believe that those who will not participate in preserving their own health should probably have the health care services they receive limited. Drug adicts and obese people should have to change their ways in order to continue to receive a scarce resource like health care services. But I also believe we shouldn’t leave childrens’ health to the market system. Young parents will in many cases be unable to afford to provide insurance and/or make bad choices leaving their children without coverage. You will always have uninsured children if you leave it to the market place.

    My solution is ugly. But if we as a society are going to play god and allocate access to healthcare services, I vote that society provide for the young, and old people better be able to pay for their own health care or insurance. If we can afford it we should also provide government funded or incentivised care for the work force and those who have children. My god looks out for kids, even if she thinks drunks should take care of themselves. Market forces should play a limited role to insure efficiencies where this can be done without sacrificing our societies children.

    Being as this thread is actually about Boeing, I have two comments on Boeing. First, Boeings emotional connection to Seattle ended with the MD merger. Phil Condit moved the headquarters to Chicago supposedly to be closer to United and other airlines, but he was from Chicago too. Before then, Boeing was emotionally connected to Seattle, even though it was a huge corporation. After the merger, that emotional connection was dilluted to the extent that it is now lost and pure cost/benefit analysis will decide where future projects are located. But if you locate a second 787 line in the US, I think it’s likely that the machinists at that facility would be part of the same union, although I’m not entirely sure.

    Second, outsourcing has 2 basic advantages. It allows a company to shift certain costs, including some fixed costs and near fixed costs, to the subcontractors. And it also allows Boeing to exploit cheaper labor markets without owning and investing capital in foreign operations. But outsourcing has a huge risk that was known to Boeing (at least by the few people I know in the executive ranks of the company) but which the company decided to accept. That risk is loss of control of development and manufacturing when something goes wrong. Let’s say you are in charge of 5 engineering groups responsible for 5 different componenets. Some will come in ahead of time but not all will come in on time. If you have the development in house, you can shift resources who are ahead of schedule to assist those who are behind schedule. If you have outsourced the development or manufacture, you often don’t find out the full nature of the problem until the subcontractor defaults. And after default, if you go to another subcontractor and ask them to help, their response will be where does it say I have to do that in my contract and how much more are you willing to pay me for fixing problems that aren’t mine.

    My father told me yesterday’s paper said the 787 subs won’t even be able to supply the parts for their 10 plan per month manufacturing goal.

    The bottom line with outsourcing is that you limit risks related to certain fixed or near fixed costs but you take on risk that you won’t know about problems until it’s too late and you won’t be able to shift resources to deal with problems the way you could if you had control of the process in house. Boeing should have known that subcontractors can kill you. I don’t think they did a very good job of hedging that risk. That was a failure of management.

    I don’t want to absolve the unions though. In the end, I think the machinist union’s strike cost them as much as they got out of the contract and in the long run is fuel pushing Boeing to outsource more and perhaps eventually move out of the Seattle area.

  76. 76
    Racket says:

    “I don’t want to absolve the unions though. In the end, I think the machinist union’s strike cost them as much as they got out of the contract and in the long run is fuel pushing Boeing to outsource more and perhaps eventually move out of the Seattle area”

    Well they need to stop being so greedy, unions bled GM dry, they need to stop before they do the same to Boeing.

  77. 77
    what goes up must come down says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 73 – Kary on RE matters we might differ sometimes but on this I totally agree, but the problem is that is the headline unfortunately

  78. 78
    what goes up must come down says:

    Jimmythev watch out you might confuse the people who spout Fiction with the FACTS. Of course I am sure someone here will bring up a case where someone had to wait for some kind of operation etc….. but of course they won’t point out these same people who had to wait WOULD HAVE NEVER GOTTEN THE OPERATION IN THE US because they would have been uninsured. But wait next they will point out Mrs. Jones went to the US because she didn’t want to wait on the list of COURSE THEN THEY WON’T POINT OUT MRS. JONES HAS A CRAP LOAD OF $ SO SHE CAN PICK AND CHOSE.

    Somethings never get boring the people who can chose are the people who have. One day the people who don’t have come knocking on your door and then you wonder why? Oh right it is their fault until they tell you f’off I am taking — hmm, sounds like a lot of CEO’s — but the difference is they successfully f’ed the system.

  79. 79
    what goes up must come down says:

    One Eye I personally know many engineers that work on the 87 and had to go to subcontractors to get the fing job done. See this is what amazes me, every one here has an opinion — can’t exclude myself from that — but they actually have no clue when it comes to the rubber meeting the road. I am not accusing, flipping the bird to anyone because I guess it is just the human condition.

    I will say that what attracted me to SB was the data — not saying data can not be distorted — but when you dig numbers just can’t lie. Will the wing carry the load? What is the margin? Can we chamfer that lug?

    Simple.

  80. 80
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 73

    You’re right it is all about the numbers. You do have to have an open and shut winnable case. Frivolous is just a term that gets thrown around.

    Suing an insurance company, oh, I mean a doctor, is very hard to do. There again many good doctors who are trying to help and do good work are victimized by this system. Some doctors pick and chose who to treat. they only treat low risk patients. They refer to those doctors who will take on the risk of a complicated case. When the result might look bad in court the law suit starts.

    Use some reasoning here. Oncology, Elder Care, and especially baby doctors are victims in this malpractice farce.

  81. 81
    Scotsman says:

    June 19 (Bloomberg) — Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner, absent from the Paris Air Show this week after two years of delays, may not be the jetmaker’s biggest problem.

    Airbus SAS’s bigger A350 has won almost 500 orders, 10 of them at the show, forcing Boeing to turn its attention to the market for bigger planes with more than 300 seats. The Chicago- based company is considering an upgrade of its 15-year-old 777. Airlines say it should spend billions on a new aircraft instead.

    “What Boeing makes next is the big question,” said Doug Runte, a New York-based analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. who estimates the U.S. company would need to spend $15 billion to develop a new model. “Airplanes require a huge investment of money and effort. If you get it wrong, the consequences are enormous and you have to live with it for a very long time.”

  82. 82
    gameboy says:

    Let’s get one thing straight, malpractice awards have NOTHING to do with malpractice insurance rates.

    There have been several studies done on this and there is only one thing that determines the malpractice insurance rates – bond rates. When bonds are doing well, the malpractice insurance rates go down, when the bond is doing bad, the rates go up.

    Which is not that surprising since all of the insurance premium is invested in bonds and when the reserves go down, they need to make it up with premiums.

    The amount of payout in comparison to the overall fund is quite small, so they don’t effect the rates much even with some occasional high payouts.

    Insurance premiums go up even in states where they have strong laws against malpractice lawsuits.

  83. 83
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: gameboy @ 82 – I wouldn’t agree with the zero correlation claim, but does it matter?

    Is there anyone who thinks that someone who suffers $5,000,000 of damages as a result of a doctor’s malpractice should be limited in what they receive, just so that doctors can pay lower rates on insurance? It’s absurd, and would only lead to more malpractice by doctors because they wouldn’t need to be as concerned about the consequenses of their actions.

  84. 84

    RE: Ross Jordan @ 29

    I DO BOARD WORK FOR A MEDICAL CONTRACT COMPANY IN THE SEATTLE AREA

    The following is not in the news and empirical evidence, but HORRIFYING, none the less:

    The professionals there tell me doctors all want to be specialists now, because the general family doctor types makes less or about the same as a RN today. But if you’re a RN, don’t laugh, the professionals in the company tell me they can’t find jobs lately in the Seattle area and the hospital rooms are like 30% empty with people putting off optional operations. The lunchrooms have fired like half their staff, there’s no one to feed in the hospital(s) cafeteria(s). They also won’t hire a laid off RN to do a lower paid LPN’s job; the hospitals are afraid they’ll quit on them ASAP.

    One medical PhD was so desparate for money he was thinking of starting a pick line nursing company; albeit the idea is old and useless, that business area is already saturated in Seattle [he was horrified when the news was given to him]. I saw local doctors at the Wash St Autism Conference on May 29th begging for business rather than providing scientific discussion, I walked out early…LOL….they called me and apologized [they agreed with me].

    The company I do board work for has a 30% drop in business recently too.

    So tell your kids to take up nursing where’s there’s still jobs…LOL….it reminds me of teaching too, just keep overpopulating Seattle, as nurses and teachers are immune…LOL

    Welcome to the Great Depression in Seattle.

  85. 85
    jon says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 83:

    RE: gameboy @ 82 – I wouldn’t agree with the zero correlation claim, but does it matter?

    Is there anyone who thinks that someone who suffers $5,000,000 of damages as a result of a doctor’s malpractice should be limited in what they receive, just so that doctors can pay lower rates on insurance? It’s absurd, and would only lead to more malpractice by doctors because they wouldn’t need to be as concerned about the consequenses of their actions.

    The evidence shows that costs here are higher than countries with malpractice limits and yet the outcomes are no better. The problem with evaluating the cost of malpractice that the only data that is reported amounts to roughly 7% of the total costs. So people study what other data there is, which is the performance of the invested funds, which leads to the ridiculous and absurd claim that the secondary factor of investment returns are what drive the cost of the insurance overall.

  86. 86
    Herman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 70 – I’ll explain how Hugh’s point works out using a scenario, and how US costs will be reduced at the expense of OTHER COUNTRIES.

    An affliction strikes the world population that can be cured by taking one pill. EuroDrugCo develops the pill at a cost of $5 billion to develop and test. Once the science is complete, manufacturing the pill is cheap; it’s only $0.10 per pill.

    Country C has 50 million people and legally forbids the pill to be sold for more than $5.
    Country A has 300 million people and a strong drug lobby. There is no limit on the price EuroDrug can charge here.

    Now the sales manager for EuroDrug wants to figure out how to make a profit on his new pill. If he charges $5 per pill everywhere, he will lose money. So he charges $5 in country C[anada] and $20 in country A[merica]. The Americans essentially pay for the R&D costs. The sales in Canada are just extra profit.

    The point is, what happens if the .gov steps in and starts regulating medical pricing here, like other countries do? Americans will stop getting gouged for health equipment and drugs, and the prices will start to equalize across the world. Other nations will have to allow their prices to rise as America forces ours to fall, in order to maintain the current levels of DrugCo research and profitability.

    Or if they don’t then there will simply be less new health research. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Many of the new drugs are treating new “afflictions” that have been invented and marketed by the drug companies and would have been laughable decades ago. So part of the effect is that we’ll eliminate the cost of frivolous drugs and treatments from our health care system.

    And then there’s the frivolous lawsuits… back to your thread already in progress…

  87. 87
    gameboy says:

    By jon @ 85:

    The problem with evaluating the cost of malpractice that the only data that is reported amounts to roughly 7% of the total costs. So people study what other data there is, which is the performance of the invested funds, which leads to the ridiculous and absurd claim that the secondary factor of investment returns are what drive the cost of the insurance overall.

    What does that mean? Either there is correlation or there isn’t. Studies show that premiums go up when reserve investments do not perform well and premiums go down when they perform well.

    To call the correlation “ridiculous and absurd” just says you have no understanding of any statistics.

  88. 88
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: what goes up must come down @ 79

    You’re right What Goes Up. I agree as to data and I acknowldge that I didn’t provide any. I apologize for being too lazy and preoccupied to provide links to at least some of the data on healthcare and in recognition of this shortcoming I’ve included some links below.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think the data related to Boeing outsourcing is in the public domaine. And I don’t think it will ever be in the public domaine unless the Board decides to put an explanation of the 2 yr delay in the annual report or a lengthy press release, or there are huge lawsuits with subs or customers that put the data in the public record for litigation purposes. Neither of those are likely in my opinion. My analysis of the risks and benefits of outsourcing comes from my discussions with people in Boeing management who were against inceased outsourcing and my own experience in representing people in the contruction industry.

    The data is available on the costs and benefits of the machinists union strick. I have never compiled the numbers personally. My primary source on the strike numbers is a person in management whose opinions I value but whose prejudice is clearly not in favor of the union.

    As to healthcare, here’s Payscales stats on what Docs make in US, Canada (in Canadian $’s) and UK:

    http://www.payscale.com/research/US/People_with_Doctor_of_Medicine_(MD)_Degrees/Salary

    http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/People_with_Jobs_as_Physicians_/_Doctors/Salary

    http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/People_with_Jobs_as_Physicians_/_Doctors/Salary

    I don’t have a break down for all the support people (nurses, med techs, etc, or a number for the overall salary costs in the system, but my bet is that salaries are the largest single cost. Here’s a short breakdown of the medicare and medicaid budget for 2005 and the full breakdown of the Department of Health and Human Services Budget for 2008:

    http://www.hhs.gov/budget/05budget/centersformed.html

    http://www.hhs.gov/budget/08budget/2008BudgetInBrief.pdf

    I’ve never seen a breakdown for medicaid as to how much of the budget is for long term nursing home care for seniors and how much is for other items. It might be burried in the above 2008 budget but I don’t recall seeing it.

  89. 89
    jon says:

    By gameboy @ 87:

    By jon @ 85:

    The problem with evaluating the cost of malpractice that the only data that is reported amounts to roughly 7% of the total costs. So people study what other data there is, which is the performance of the invested funds, which leads to the ridiculous and absurd claim that the secondary factor of investment returns are what drive the cost of the insurance overall.

    What does that mean? Either there is correlation or there isn’t. Studies show that premiums go up when reserve investments do not perform well and premiums go down when they perform well.

    To call the correlation “ridiculous and absurd” just says you have no understanding of any statistics.

    Of course the financial factors play an incremental role in insurance costs. But when an estimated 93% percent of the real direct cost is not reported, there is no way to determine statistically if it is more or less important than the medical care itself. Common sense dictates it is less important. Furthermore that 93% does not include the perhaps even larger indirect cost. Doctors defend themselves against charges of malpractice by ordering every possibility relevant test. Sure that is incrementally safer, but it drives up cost out of proportion to the benefit it provides. If money were unlimited, that would be the thing to do. But when important decisions are being made based on the real limitations of available resources, then we need to look carefully at how reasources are allocated, and tests with a very low cost benefit ratio should be curtailed so that care can be focused where it will do the most good. So Kary’s claim that doctors would be less diligent is possibly true in the small scale because of some cases of unethical doctors, but in the larger picture resources are being spent inefficiently. This is all because the only defense a conscientious doctor has against a gold-digger is to order every possibly applicable test regardless of the statistical likelihood of the information that is revealed. If malpractice awards were based on actual costs, then doctors could allocate resources effectively. But instead they are based on emotional appeals to juries that have no financial stake in the outcome.

  90. 90

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 88

    MEDICAID CURRENTLY PAYS ONLY ABOUT 30% OF IT’S ACTUAL MEDICAL COSTS

    Which is good. Our hospital emergency rooms are taking in [they have to] uninsured patients at 0% of actual costs.

    My sister died of cancer a couple years ago and it was horrifying the way they treated her and she had insurance. Because of the “deadbeat” factor sucking hospital budgets dry, the paying customers are rushed out of their rooms “half dead” [she was too], to mitigate costs from the paying customer Peter to pay the deadbeat Paul.

    I agree with Scotsman that Medicare/Medicaid revenue is being “eyed” as a way to subsidize the masses of deadbeats. His prediction [and the AMA’s too] that the whole house of cards will collapse as that currently happens [Medicare and Social Security revenue is already being used for the stimulus debt by the fed buying its own debt]…its HORRIFYING and simply put, hopeless.

    We’re broke.

  91. 91

    30 YEAR FIXED MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES GOING UP ON BECU TODAY

    A 0.1% increase.

  92. 92
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: gameboy @ 87 – Correlation does not prove that other factors are not also at play.

    There is a 100% correlation between the recording of property transactions in King County and sunrise/sunset. But that’s because of the hours set by the recorder’s office, not forces of nature.

  93. 93
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By softwarengineer @ 91:

    30 YEAR FIXED MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES GOING UP ON BECU TODAY

    A 0.1% increase.

    I wondered why you thought they were going up the other day. You can’t just follow one bank. That would be like following one gas station for gas prices.

    Overall they’ve been heading back down (although I haven’t heard about today).

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-briefs19-2009jun19,0,1439395.story

    I’d suggest following Rhonda’s posts every Friday over at RCG for week to week changes.

  94. 94
    what goes up must come down says:

    Scotsman, ummm usually you actually say something but thanks for posting stuff off the web that can be valuable.

    Okay, big surprise management at Boeing looks at a schedule and says well shift it to the left.

    Ahh, well you don’t understand the supplier states they cannot machine those skins to that thickness in that amount of time — the lead time has to go up. Ahh, you don’t understand they cannot do that layup in that amount of time, Ahh, you don’t understand we can’t thin that because the it will create a negative shear stress margin.

    Wow, surprise, surprise — for all those people who bitch about the union here is a little inside information — the last time around the machinist were really not asking for something out of the ball park maybe in past you could bitch but not this go around.

    Hmmm, why force a strike then you ask well lets see everyone already knew that suppliers were having problems — well if we can get a strike going well than it won’t be the management who had no clue what it takes to build a plane that people will point to no it will be the bad union.

    Let me clue those in that actually don’t work in aerospace the current management at Boeing never DESIGNED a dam plane.

    Yes I know you are all experts, but no you actually don’t do the work, hmm I can honestly say I have never given legal advice to Kary — let’s see he is an ex-lawyer – therefore he knows more than me, financial advice to Scotsman – nope, that is his field………….

    But when it comes to actually designing and analyzing the structure of an A/C well now we have a hundred experts that don’t know a secondary moment or damage tolerance from their rear ends.

  95. 95
    Gary says:

    RE @ 94. what goes up must come down.

    Now THAT is what I would have said but, you beat me to it.
    Full disclosure: I work there too.

  96. 96
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Gary @ 95

    So is the plane ever going to get built in the way they envisioned?

  97. 97
    David Losh says:

    Thank you all for letting me express my views on health care. There has been good dialog and my only hope is that you all will continue to explore ways to improve the quality of care.

    As for Boeing, I do think this entire move is to bust Unions. The auto Industry has already taken the biggest hit and now management is trying to please the stock holders by having airplanes built by unskilled labor.

    Cars i’ll go along with. we can build smaller more efficient cars. Smaller cars may give us innovated ways of using our high way system, reduce production costs, and improve safety. Maybe we can assemble cars, maybe have kit cars, who knows.

    The air plane I think needs professional engineers and I want to know the people putting the plane together are well paid. I also want to know that the parts supplier is trust worthy.

    Maybe it’s just me, but being a mile off the ground in a plane put together by the lowest bidder seems just plain stupid.

  98. 98
    E says:

    Disclosure: This is from a guy who used to work the 787 program as an engineer. I have experienced firsthand the childishness and greed that all sides showed from nearly the start of the program.

    I think management at Boeing will really build a second 787 line elsewhere. To plow through 800+ airplanes they have to have a well-trained and efficient line moving, with suppliers actually doing their job. That isn’t going to happen anytime soon. If they build a second plant, though, they can avoid future labor strife which will actually hurt more than on previous airplanes because:

    a) Suppliers, ideally, will be doing most of the manufacturing work and assembly of the subsystems. Strike at Boeing means the suppliers have to shut down or slow down, since Boeing hasn’t invested the infrastructure to keep many spares laying around. That means in addition to the work stoppage, there is a ramp up period too and so instead of a 3 month delay, you really have a 6-9 month delay.

    b) Airlines are FURIOUS at the last strike of the Machinists’ – or rather, management’s unwillingness to settle. Nevermind that the company could have settled with the union and avoided embarrassing delays, the managers just see the bottom line no more than 6 months in the future.

    It’s not just Qatar which is furious. Virgin is angry, and I quote Richard Branson: “During the Christmas season we had nearly 1200 passengers delayed for more than 36 hours. People missed their families during Christmas. There was a problem with one of our 777s and we had no extras because we just started up the route. Part of that is our fault but Boeing was on the hook to deliver those 777s which would have been spares, but didn’t, because of the strike.

    If Boeing thinks they can do this to their customers, I got news for them: If they cannot get their labor under control, we’ll look elsewhere.” My quote is loose and not following British English but it’s pretty close.

    Boeing does take that to heart, and if you’re a business owner, and see the ability to recoup the investment of a new assembly line in a cheaper part of the country with a right to work ethos, then the choice is obvious. Some of the machinists and engineers just may go with it too – heck, if I could do my job with 3/4 of what I make in an area with 1/2 the cost of living, score! I’m not in an unstoppable love romance with the Pac NW.

    c) I mentioned this before, but a place with lower costs and no labor unions = victory for the company, and more stable supplier lines, and more stable deliveries for airlines, and thus happier customers. It’s a no brainer.

    For the next airplane, yes, Boeing will take back some of the manufacturing work, but mark my words – WA cannot compete for the manufacturing nor the assembly of it. Gregiore’s own task force came to that conclusion and she got into a hissy fit and brought it back under her wing. So much for reality. That means a portion of the engineering will go with it. Sorry WA, but you lose, in the end.

  99. 99
    Jonness says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 93

    Bankrate’s weekly survey this week shows BECU’s 5.775% for a 30-year fixed is in line with the average.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bankrate-mortgage-rates-reverse-course-200961873000

    “30-year fixed: 5.76% — down from 5.95% last week (avg. points: 0.43) “

  100. 100
    David Losh says:

    RE: E @ 98

    The Boeing Union is a great model of the struggle that workers have. The Boeing family built the company, the plants are long standing and the State has many political ties with Boeing. The federal government has political ties to the States through Boeing.

    So the company is well established and was literally built by Washington State labor since before the Socialist movement in Washington State. The union workers contributed to the success of the company.

    Today every one wants to forget that business is built by good labor relations. I admit Labor Unions have gotten soft and protect bad work ethics. Unions should be organizing with a common goal of making the company money so the company can pay better wages.

    Labor organizers are asking for cost of living raises and increased benefits by demand or threat of strike. They refuse to bring production goals to the table. They want to protect the 36 hour work week and demand higher and higher over time compensation. We all pay the price.

    When labor unions were fighting NAFTA I was making the comment that this was an opportunity to organize in Mexico. The cry babies were scared. If labor wants to become relevant again in the United States they need to fight. Laborers need to bring their top game to the table rather than whine.

    If you want to work it’s best to belong to a union so you can negotiate collectively, but you have to want to work. You have to be the best. You have to want to do the job and if the company makes money labor should make money. If the company loses money labor should step in and make things right.

    In other words it’s the feet on the ground that should be running the line and the guy in the office should get a job.

  101. 101
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: db @ 48 – Amen. I have lived abroad (EU) and in comparison health care is much better there. 40 million uninisured in the US? Same life expectancy as Cuba? 2X developed country average cost?

    And if the human factor isnt enough, high healthcare costs are killing our competitiveness and decreasing worker mobility….we gotta change this…

  102. 102

    “Here are the four largest U.S. health care companies, along with their EBIT, or earnings before interest expenses and taxes, as a percentage of revenues:

    1. UnitedHealth Group – 6.5% ”

    One can use a statistic to make it look any way you want it to. One can say ” Poor United Health. Only 6.5% EBIT, that’s practically nothing. We should be grateful that they’re still in business amidst all those challenges they face like sick people and liberals.”
    Or one can say ” 6.5%!” ” They had revenues of over 80 billion dollars last year, so 6.5% of that is over 5 billion dollars. How many millions are they spending on lobbyists so they can defend their niche, how many millions are they spending on their CEO’s bonuses, awarded because he’s great at seeing claims denied, how much are they spending on their corporate headquarters and their slick publications telling everyone what great corporate citizens they are?”

  103. 103
    mukoh says:

    RE: David Losh @ 100 – Boeing Union model is a great model for saps who want to get paid for being uncompetitive…. That is what union is about. Out of 15 hired on as union 10 actually work, the rest pretend.

  104. 104
    jon says:

    “Same life expectancy as Cuba? 2X developed country average cost?”

    “1. UnitedHealth Group – 6.5% ”

    I’ve got an idea, let’s take all that 6.5% profit they are making and cut our health costs in half!

    Only one problem. Who is going to explain that to all the people who have insurance company stock in their 401Ks?

    Dmn private ownership.

  105. 105
    Noz says:

    Boeing is too busy killing people half way around the world with its weapons and military crap than building new and modern aircraft to compete with Airbus.

    The arrogance this culture and country can be best seen through the corporations that own it and run it.

  106. 106
    bugger says:

    I love my Boeings

  107. 107
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 102

    You have hit the very core of the health care issue, as well as the guy pointing out the tie between mal practice premiums and the bond market. These are big dollars.

    Health care is dying in Congress right now because of the $1.6 trillion dollar price tag over the next ten years. No one can just access insurance company funds. All the people who paid into the for profit system are stuck.

    Insurance companies along with banks, and pension funds have all of these little accounts with billions of dollars in them. When you add it all up it’s trillions.

    So to start all over from scratch is very costly. The Insurance Industry doesn’t want to lose the income from premiums and refuses to help fund a new system. People are scared, so nothing goes forward.

    This is the point in the discussion when global medicine is the best solution. The United States doesn’t even have to fund it. We can simply allow countries with far superior medical systems access to the United States and allow our doctors who want to work elsewhere to come and go freely.

    If we wanted to we could allow free trade of medical equipment. We can legalize and tax medicinal herbs. We can research alternative medicine globally.

    We live and we die. it all comes down to the quality of life. If our health care system is a burden that is complicated and stress filled than it adds nothing to our lives.

  108. 108
    Amir says:

    RE: Noz @ 105 – What’s worse, arrogance … or your flaw of choice: ignorance? (or maybe it’s simply a tendency to make dumb comments just for shock effect)

    First of all, Boeing doesn’t kill anyone, it sells military products to countries that want to protect themselves and their allies. Now, you may or may not agree with the way customers use Boeing products (nor do I), but that’s a different discussion. Oh and by the way, Boeing makes aircraft that are used for humanitarian missions, wildfire-fighting, refugee transport, and space exploration (which includes that GPS device in your car or your phone and if you have satellite TV, possibly that too).

    Second, this may come as news to the ignorant, but Airbus has a military division too. Go to http://www.eads.com/1024/en/businet/airbus/airbus_military/airbus_military.html.

  109. 109
    Amir says:

    I also have something that’s actually on-topic … these Boeing issues have apparently gone unnoticed by the Business Week staff. They just came out with a piece about home values in 2012, with this to say about Seattle:

    “Relatively protected by the presence of tech giant Microsoft and airplane maker Boeing, after a nearly 10% drop in 2008, analysts project an 8.7% decrease this year, followed by gains” (to the tune of median home prices heading back up to $414,000 by 2012).

    http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/06/0618_house_worth_2012/49.htm

  110. 110
    talksense says:

    By Racket @ 76:

    “I don’t want to absolve the unions though. In the end, I think the machinist union’s strike cost them as much as they got out of the contract and in the long run is fuel pushing Boeing to outsource more and perhaps eventually move out of the Seattle area”

    Well they need to stop being so greedy, unions bled GM dry, they need to stop before they do the same to Boeing.

    *********************

    While union have a vested interest in obtaining the most for their members, I can’t blame the UAW for GM’s predicament, not by a long shot. The reason GM has slid so badly is primarily due to piss-poor management…greedy overseers who insisted on continuing to manufacture primarily gas-guzzling tanks, not having the foresight to see that the Toyota/Nissan model was a much better, sustainable long-term track to be on. GM’s planners, like Chrysler’s and Ford’s, to some degree, have been asleep at the switch, locked in a 1960s mentality that life is good and bigger is better. THEY are to blame (and the shareholders) for most of the mess GM finds itself in these days.

    It killed me to see that, every time over the last decade congress debated increasing fuel economy standards, TOYOTA was the BIGGEST lobbyist in fighting such revisionist legislation…..they had (and still have) a big interest in staying more fuel efficient than their US competition…what better way than to lobby their asses off against improving MPG standards? We sure take the cake in the US when it comes to being suckered, often times by our own business leaders.

  111. 111
    what goes up must come down says:

    oh no talksense you are talking sense you may have given indigestion to numerous let’s blame the union people here.

  112. 112
    Hugh Dominic says:

    One interesting note on the health care topic – reviewing the comments it seems that all of the people with actual experience of other health care systems think universal healthcare/single payer is the way to go…

    Just saying….

  113. 113
    Esol Esek says:

    If you like airplanes that lose their rear stabilizers in turbulence, then buy Airbus. You like French-braided wiring, buy Airbus…

  114. 114

    RE: Esol Esek @ 113

    IF YOU LIKE ALMOST ALL THE MANUFACTURING OUTSOURCED, BOTH COMPANIES ARE GUILTY [I.E., 787]

    I suppose that is why the EAD is even considerred over the Boeing option [777 now?] for the Tanker Contract. We’ve made domestic airplane manufacturing a past-tense and the AF can’t understandably tell the difference between Europe or America anymore.

  115. 115
    kfhoz says:

    Person anecdotes do not tell everything, but here is another boring story about good experiences with the public option:

    I am a US citizen who lived 6 years in Australia in the ’90s when the health care was all public. My sister-in-law is a doctor in Sydney. The public system is better and faster than what I have experienced here in the states either before or after.

    It took less time to get an appointment and the doctors spent more time with me. The chunk out of my paycheck earmarked for the health care system was a smaller percentage than the amount of health care $ my US employers pay to insurance companies. Also, the billing expenses for the doctors was less

    If you wanted fancier care (like a private room in the hospital) and you have the bucks, then you can buy more, or buy extra insurance (sorta like medicare top-ups).

    I did use the system when I had couple of medical things happen, and all was handled nicely.

    Here in the US I have a friend who is just retiring as an OB/GYN. Her big advice to her very smart offspring (one at MIT, the other one at Yale I think) is “Do not do medicine!”. After paying her malpractice insurance she earns about what a software engineer around Seattle does.

  116. 116
    Tim McB says:

    Hugh Dominic said:

    One interesting note on the health care topic – reviewing the comments it seems that all of the people with actual experience of other health care systems think universal healthcare/single payer is the way to go…

    Just saying….

    Yes, but but they all come from little countries (no offense). Canada 30 million, England 60 million, Australia 21 million, Scotland 51 million… US 308 million…

    Just saying….

  117. 117
    David Losh says:

    RE: Tim McB @ 116

    I’ve avoid saying this out right but we can pay for health care, I should say we do pay for health care, with tax dollars.

    Let’s see what we spend those tax dollars on: we currently have two wars, drug interdiction, corporate welfare, farm subsidies, tax breaks for the wealthy, jailing minorities, and government funded reasearch and development for every big business in America.

    We pay tax dollars to the extremely wealthy because we love them. We hate drug addicts, blacks, hispanics, single mothers, the clinically insane, those who are different than us in general, and those who refuse to be just like us.

    So we pay the wealthy and every one else should fend for themselves.

    Oh, I forgot that 5% of the population pays 95% of the taxes so they are entitled to get that money back. That’s the American way.

  118. 118

    787 TEST FLIGHT DELAYED AGAIN

    Its apparently falling apart. See the news article in part:

    “….The 787 is Boeing’s first new aircraft since the 777, which was introduced more than a decade ago. The new plane is built for fuel efficiency with lightweight carbon composite parts.
    Scott Carson, president and chief executive of Boeing’s commercial airplane division, said experts had identified potential solutions to the reinforcement problem, and that such modifications were not uncommon in the development of new airplanes.
    “Consideration was given to a temporary solution that would allow us to fly as scheduled, but we ultimately concluded that the right thing was to develop, design, test and incorporate a permanent modification to the localized area requiring reinforcement,” he said in a statement….”

    What is uncommon is a new plane 2 years late and now delayed again. But Scott glossed it up a bit.

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