One of the more memorable speakers of Thursday's televised healthcare summit from Washington came from Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York.
She stressed the necessity of reforms in U.S. health care, saying America is losing its competitiveness in the global market and sick Americans are being abandoned by the healthcare system.
The previous major push for healthcare reform was under the Clinton administration.
Slaughter said the movement was sparked by complaints made by Lee Iacocca, the former chief executive at Chrysler, who asserted that his company could not export its vehicles because of the prohibitively high cost of healthcare.
My competitors are way ahead of me. They are eating my lunch, lamented Iacocca.
For Japanese car manufacturers, exports are already subsidized by the country's undervalued currency.
In addition, the Japanese government heavily subsidizes healthcare, making the cost to Japanese companies much lower than those of their American counterparts.
As a result, over the last decade, Japanese car manufacturers have steadily gained global market share over America ones until Toyota finally overtook GM in global sales in 2008.
We don't export so much anymore, said Slaughter, the automobile business is basically gone.
Slaughter sees the healthcare bill as the last chance, particularly for the export business.
We have fallen behind, we're no longer the biggest manufacturer in the world, we've lost our technological edge, Slaughter warned.
She said the decision by some health insurance companies' to refuse to take on customers with preexisting conditions cruel, capricious, and done only to enhance the bottom line.
She also included a story about the difficulties faced by a person within her district.
I even have one constituent -- you will not believe this, and I know you won't, but it's true -- her sister died, recounted Slaughter.
This poor woman had no dentures. She wore her dead sister's teeth, which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit.