I have come to the conclusion that health care reform is not about health, care, or reform. And this is why.
We already have a government run health care plan in this country – it is called Medicaid. If Medicaid doesn’t cover enough of the people who can’t afford private health insurance or those who can’t get private health insurance at any price, why aren’t we talking about Medicaid reform?
Any real reform of the health care system in America would need to focus on four key issues:
- Medicaid reform
Fix what is broken and expand it to cover more of those who need it.
- Tort reform
I find the idea of health courts which would be similar to workers’ compensation courts very intriguing.
- Tax reform
Employers are allowed to deduct 100% of the health insurance premiums they pay for their employees. Individuals who purchase their own private health insurance should also be allowed to deduct 100% of their premiums on their income tax returns.
- Regulation reform
Allow insurance companies to do business across state lines. At the very least, allow them to offer high-deductible, HSA-qualifying plans nationwide.
By giving little, if any, attention to these key points, the federal government is telling us that health care reform is not really the purpose of the various bills currently floating around Congress. The true purpose is to increase tax revenues because government spending is at historic highs while income (in the form of tax revenues) is at historic lows.
This is why the plans, the House bill in particular, have far more sticks than carrots. Revenue will increase through several measures including:
- New penalty taxes on individuals who do not have health insurance.
- New penalty taxes on small businesses that do not offer health insurance to employees.
- Implied increase in corporate taxes on insurance companies will benefit from the plan by picking up millions of new customers who don’t want to get stuck paying the above penalty taxes.
- New income taxes on the wealthiest citizens.
Again, why should we believe that an enormous new federal social program and its attendant bureaucracy function any better?
Don’t be fooled by all the rhetoric on either side of the ongoing, heated debate. It’s never been about anything but the money.