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Excellent interview in the Financial Times with Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, in which he said that business ought to take a more active role in the debate over health care policy.

“I think business has been absent in this debate on healthcare. I’m not sure why,” he said. “I think government is going to be engaged after this election regardless of who wins, and I think business should be more involved in the discussion. I think it has long-term ramifications for our global competitiveness.”

FT writes, “Some US corporate leaders say they have kept a low profile on healthcare for fear of being dragged into a political debate that could end up harming their companies’ image and finances. One chief executive of a large US company said recently: ‘Healthcare is a minefield of problems. We don’t know yet how the debate will shape up and until then we don’t want to make our positions known’.”

But Scott said that he does not feel this way, in part because Wal-Mart already is embroiled in the debate.

KC's View:
It seems to me that no matter who wins the election in the fall, that person needs to get ideas from all parties for how best to create a system that provides insurance for everyone without over-burdening any one segment, and for creating a system that focuses on and promotes personal responsibility. That means you have to talk to the unions, but it also means that folks like Scott and Safeway CEO Steve Burd need to be at the table.

And it means that they all have to be pro-active, not reactive, in getting involved with the debate.