[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/01/art.granholm.cnn.jpg caption="Granholm: overstated the break that manufacturers get in countries with universal health care."]
Arguing for the need for a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health-care system, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Sunday the high cost of health insurance is driving jobs in her state's automotive plants north
across the border to Canada.
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Granholm, a Democrat, said every car built in the United States "has $1,600 worth of health care cost embedded in it, whereas other countries - and they're our competitors - don't have that cost.'
"Those auto companies weren't going there because of regulation, or taxes or anything, they were going there because there's a partnership on the part of the Canadian government with health care," Granholm said. "Now, we don't want to create that exact same system, but I can tell you that other countries are providing health care for their businesses so they can compete globally. "
Fact Check: Does Canada's health system save auto manufacturers $1,600 a car?
- Granholm cited a widely circulated figure often attributed to General Motors. A CNN report in 2008 found that the costs of the health plans negotiated with GM's unions added about $1,600 to the cost of a vehicle.
- Canadian industrial recruiters do cite the country's government-paid health insurance as a plus in attracting industry. A brochure put out by Ontario's provincial Ministry of Economic Development and Trade touts it as a "clear advantage" in core operating costs for companies located there.
- But is the score $1,600 to nothing? There's a big gap, but health care in other countries not cost-free. Ontario officials say the cost of employee health benefits for companies there is about half what their U.S.-based counterparts would pay. And the comparable figure for Japanese automaker Toyota's plants back home, where the government requires companies to provide health coverage to employees, is about is about $200.
The figure Granholm cited for U.S. automakers matches up with other published estimates. But her comments appear to overstate the break that manufacturers get in countries with universal health care.
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