Saturday, January 20, 2007

Give Us Your Sick, Give Us Your Poor

One of the issues to be addressed in the upcoming State of the Union Address, not surprisingly, will be the ever increasing health care problem. In another of this president's brilliant plans to help the needy, he has decided that the answer would be to tax the worker on employer provided health insurance. In order to receive a tax break on one's health insurance, you would need to purchase a plan on your own. This comes as no surprise to most of us that non-employer provided medical insurance is offered at a much higher expense and often will not include dental benefits.

The basic concept of the president’s plan is that employer-provided health insurance, now treated as a fringe benefit exempt from taxation, would no longer be entirely tax-free. Workers could be taxed if their coverage exceeded limits set by the government. But the government would also offer a new tax deduction for people buying health insurance on their own.

While he continues to stand firm against rolling back tax relief to multi-billion dollar corporations and wealthy individuals who make their fortunes through investments, apparently he still has no problem letting those of lesser means pay more than their share. This plan would force many to have to opt out of medical insurance altogether and risk the burden of a health affliction or medical emergency creating financial ruin. Thereby, also allowing the employer (Wal-Mart, for instance) to cut back on their expenses by not having to provide insurance to as many workers.

Wouldn't it make more sense, as long as we are continuing to line the pockets of insurance companies rather than opting to move towards a single-payer system, to give the tax breaks to the small businesses to to help them to provide for their employees? How about making insurance companies non-profit organizations? Yeah, I know................

Please see the following story from the New York Times:

Bush Urges Tax to Help Cover the Uninsured