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Blog Category: Competitiveness

Repealing Health-Care Law Will Hurt American Competitiveness

This guest column by Secretary Locke was published in the Seattle Times Friday, January 14.
Secretary's Statement on U.S. House of Representatives Vote to Repeal Affordable Health Care Act (1-19-11)

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When Republicans vote next week to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they are voting to repeal a new level of control that American families have over their health-care decisions.

They are also voting to make American businesses less competitive in the global economy.

Because just 10 months after its passage, the act has brought badly needed change to the American health-care system. The law:

  • Prevents children with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage;
  • Eliminates lifetime caps on the dollar amount insurance companies will spend on enrollees' benefits, like cancer treatment;
  • Allows children to stay on their parents' insurance plans until they are 26;
  • Gives tax credits to small businesses to help them afford health care for their employees; and
  • Takes meaningful steps to lower costs and improve the quality of health care for all Americans

But from my perspective as U.S. Commerce secretary, one of the most important benefits of the law is that it will make American businesses more competitive by reining in rapidly increasing health-care costs.

As President Obama has noted: "We are in a fierce competition among nations for the jobs and industries of the future."

The Affordable Care Act will allow American businesses, large and small, to improve their performance against foreign competitors, most of whom have significantly lower health-care costs.

The cost savings are real, and they will grow over time.

Secretary Locke Visits San Diego to Stress Importance of Exports in Competitiveness and Job Creation

Locke with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. Clicke for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Solar Turbines, one of California’s top exporters, for a tour of the company’s facility and a discussion with local small business owners on how the National Export Initiative will help small- and medium-sized businesses grow and create jobs in their community. Locke viewed the exporting process for industrial gas turbine engines from assembly through shipment to nearly 100 countries. Earlier in the day, he delivered the keynote address at the North American Competitiveness, Innovation & Clean Energy 2010 Conference Luncheon. He also met with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. (Solar Turbines remarks) (NAC remarks) (Release)

Secretary Locke Hosts Forum on Speeding University Research from Lab to Marketplace

Secretary Locke at podium.

File photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke hosted a forum today with university leaders, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on “Catalyzing University Research for a Stronger Economy” to address the critical importance of technology commercialization for America’s economic competitiveness and job creation. Joining Locke at the event were the presidents of several premiere universities, including Stanford, Nebraska, Akron and Kentucky. Locke and participating White House officials listened for suggestions that can improve and accelerate commercialization of federal R&D in university labs. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Urges New Emphasis on Innovation, R&D, to Increase Competitiveness and Create Jobs

Secretary Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to discuss approaches to fixing an "innovation deficit" hindering America's ability to develop new businesses and create new jobs. PCAST is an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers who provide advice to President Obama, offering insights and policy recommendations concerning a full range of issues in science, technology, and innovation. PCAST is administered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). (Remarks)

Five U.S. Organizations Announced as Recipients of 2009 Baldrige National Quality Award

Image of Baldrige Award medal. Click to go to Web site.

President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that five organizations are the recipients of the 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for innovation and performance excellence. “The road to greatness in America has been, and always will be, traveled by those who embrace change and work hard every day to be the best; the organizations we honor today with the Baldrige National Quality Award exemplify that spirit,” President Obama said. Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. (More) (Program Web site)

Commerce's USPTO to Accelerate Review of Green Technology Patents

Kappos, Locke, Chu and Arun Majumdar anwer questions from the press.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will pilot a program to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications, Secretary Gary Locke announced today. The new initiative, coming days before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, will accelerate the development and deployment of green technology, create green jobs, and promote U.S. competitiveness in this vital sector. (More) (Remarks) (Energy Announcement)

Secretaries Locke and Chu to Announce Initiatives to Accelerate Green Technology Innovation

Secretaries Locke and Chu at press conference.

File photo

In advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, next week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu will announce new initiatives by their respective agencies to accelerate innovation in green technology, increase America’s competitiveness in this sector, and create jobs. At the Dec. 7 news conference, they will be joined by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos.

Secretary Locke Addresses Brazil-U.S. Business Council Annual Plenary Meeting

Locke on podium with plenary meeting banner behind him. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address during the Brazil-U.S. Business Council annual plenary meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Locke discussed the department’s role in expanding trade and ensuring the competitiveness of U.S. companies in markets across the globe. The plenary brings together top executives from the largest U.S. investors in Brazil and Brazil's leading companies to discuss private sector priorities for the bilateral and hemispheric trade and investment agenda with top decision makers from Brazil and Washington. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke to Attend White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth

Official White House logo. Click to go to www.whitehouse.gov.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will participate in a forum on Jobs and Economic Growth Thursday, Dec. 3, at the White House. The forum is an opportunity for President Obama and the economic team to hear from CEOs, small business owners, labor leaders and nonprofit heads about ideas for continuing to grow the economy and put Americans back to work. Locke will moderate a panel discussion on competitiveness and job creation with Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and make remarks at the closing session before introducing President Obama. Afternoon sessions and several discussion groups on jobs will be streamed live on the White House Web site.

Secretary Locke Addresses National DEC Conference on Importance of Exporting

District Export Council logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at the National District Export Council Conference (DEC). Locke discussed efforts to promote the sale of U.S. goods and services overseas, efforts that will create sustainable economic growth and good-paying jobs. Exporters from around the country discussed trade issues and exporting best practices. This year’s theme was “Global Competitiveness and the Opportunities for U.S. Exporters.” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, and Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg joined Locke at the conference. (More) (Remarks)