Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Health care re-form VII (Nonsense)

OK, where to start? This is a totally useless piece of drivel... A reasonable case can be made that health insurance premiums paid by employers should be considered as taxable income (they currently are not). However, this was suggested by Senator McCain during the Presidential campaign and derided by (then) Senator Obama, so it is 'off the table' in the health care (actually health insurance) reform debate...

So comes the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggesting that this be introduced for "high cost" health plans. OK, so even this could be a reasonable subject for discussion... However they then proceed to attempt to demagogue the issue:
  • Well, gee, only the incredibly well off (and this is implied) greedy people will be effected... Oh, and let's thrown in "Goldman Sachs' to piggyback on the bad feelings related to the financial crisis this country has been going through! Guess they could also have used an insurance or financial company CEO.
  • Hmm, so having this as a non-taxable item means, naturally, that the higher the value the greater the amount forgone by the IRS... But that isn't good enough of an argument, let's change the story to the federal government actually writing a check to the people with this plan... and compare it to the other extreme! Thus we have a hard-working family who can't afford to get health insurance that receives nothing from the federal government compared to a (don't forget to spit on the ground!) Goldman Sachs family receiving a large check from the government!
Bah, humbug. The federal government is not "paying" anything to the Goldman Sachs family! Note that in the scenario the family is renting. Well, golly gee whiz, that means that the government is not helping them with their rent payment while it is "paying" $xxx to their home-owning and mortgage-paying neighbors! And, in fact,the larger their mortgage payment the more the government "pays" the neighbor... This blogger would imagine that the Goldman Sachs director and his family live in a much more expensive home and thus the government is "paying" them a huge amount of money, and certainly much more that it is "paying" them for their health insurance!! Grotesquely unfair!

Hmm, so then per the CBPP logic, and to be "fair", perhaps the Senate Finance Committee should consider "placing an excise tax" on this. "This proposal would help achieve two important objectives:
  • It would provide a significant source of funding for subsidies to enable families of modest means to pay for their housing , thereby making the overall system of federal subsidies for housing more equitable.
  • It would contribute to slowing the rate of growth of housing costs."
Note: above exercise ignores the reality of the AMT that already kicks in to limit the amount that the government "pays" to high deduction families!

An Excise Tax on Insurers Offering High-Cost Plans Can Help Pay for Health Reform: Would Also Help Slow Growth in Health Costs

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