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George Will’s piece from last weekend got me thinking. Here is one excerpt”

But one reason Amtrak runs on red ink is that legislators treat it as their toy train set, preventing it from cutting egregiously unprofitable routes. Will Congress passively accept auto plant-closing decisions? Rattner says that Washington’s demure vow is: “No plant decisions, no dealer decisions, no color-of-the-car decisions.” He is one-third right. Last week, under the headline “Senators Blast Automakers Over Dealer Closings,” The Post reported, “Because the federal government is slated to own most of General Motors and 8 percent of Chrysler, some of the senators said they have a responsibility, as major shareholders do, to review company decisions.”

In thinking about health care reform are there not major private insurance companies in many states? Are private health insurance companies not enormous and influential employers in many cities? Why then does it seem that the politicians roll-over and even embrace national health insurance (which can possibly doom the viability of the insurers in their home districts) while at the same time meddling in all sorts of “job saving” ways when it comes to Amtrak and the car companies? I suspect it is because U.S. National Health Care “reform” is going to look a lot like the tobacco settlement.

3 Responses to “Amtrak, GM and Health Insurance”

  1. Chris Robbins says:

    I think this is a poor comparison. Who could blame congressmen and senators from states like Montana, Kansas, North Dakota, and Nebraska from trying to ensure that the long distance passenger train routes continue to serve their constituents? These trains provide the only link to a national transportation network for towns like Minot, ND and Newton, KS. More likely is that GM ends up like Chrysler, spun off as a smaller, more efficient model and place safely back into the private sector to emerge from bankruptcy in 2-3 months. The government has had a lot of success with this in the past.

  2. wintercow20 says:

    I think you misunderstood my point. Saying nothing about the desirability of where Amtrak routes run, how come I do not see politicians and indeed citizens such as yourself defending the private health insurers the way you just jumped all over me about Amtrak? And health insurers make up a far more important part of these economies than an Amtrak train.

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