Redistribution of Health

Why do I keep picking on poor Mrs. Clinton? Hasn’t she suffered enough (after living with Bill all these years)? I pick on her because she’s a serious contender for the office of President of the United States. And, frankly, that makes me very nervous. It has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a woman. It has everything to do with her political agenda.

 Mrs. Clinton’s proposed healthcare plan “requires insurance companies to offer coverage to anyone who applies, and bars insurance companies from charging higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions.”1

It sounds great, on the surface. But what isn’t stated is that, if insurance companies can’t deny coverage to anybody, even those who make lifestyle choices that put them at greater risk, and they can’t raise rates for those with greater risk factors, the only alternative left to them is to raise the rates for those who are generally healthy to cover the much higher costs of insuring those who are not. Making the healthy pay more for health insurance so those who use it more can pay less brings to mind a new twist on Marx’s old motto: From each according to their health, and to each according to their infirmity. — But she also promises to make health care affordable for everybody. And that’s where the redistribution of health melds into (surprise!) the redistribution of wealth.

Her plan “offers tax credits to limit health care premiums to a certain percentage of a family’s income. Cost estimated at $110 billion annually, to be paid for by eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000.”1

I keep hearing this and, the way it’s always phrased, it sounds like Bush implemented special tax cuts for those earning over $250,000. Sounds kind of like he’s doing favors for his rich buddies, doesn’t it? And that’s exactly what it’s intended to sound like. But, just to be clear, the tax cuts in question apply to everybody, not just to those making over $250,000. What Mrs. Clinton is proposing is to make those who earn “too much” ineligible for them. (And the other Democrats are proposing the same thing.) That was exactly the reasoning behind the Alternative Minimum Tax when it was first implemented in 1969, and only affected 155 taxpayers. In 2000, one million households were affected by the AMT, and it’s projected to be 30 million by 2010. This year, 20% of all taxpayers will be affected by it, some earning as little as $50,000.2

It’s easy to win votes by saying we’ll just get the wealthy to pay for whatever we want. Since there are a lot more of us than there are of them, the Democrats figure it should be easy to garner support for a plan that sounds like soaking the rich to benefit the rest of us. But just remember, there are a lot of other tax cuts they want to eliminate too, and, chances are, some of them will affect you.

1 CNN Election Center
2 Washingon Post


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Published in: on January 23, 2008 at 10:56 pm  Comments (11)  
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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “the only alternative left to them is to raise the rates for those who are generally healthy to cover the much higher costs of insuring those who are not.”

    Do you really, honesty, think that her plan, if it was ever implemented, would actually do that in the end? I think they might fix that supposed “flaw” in her plan before implementation if that were the truth.

    “the tax cuts in question apply to everybody, not just to those making over $250,000.”

    This is true, and the end result of those Bush tax cuts is that a lot of rich people pay a much lower percentage of their income in taxes than do a lot of their own low-level employees. This isn’t fair or progressive, and Democrats tend to like progressive tax rates.

    I don’t think that the AMT is going to be around for much longer. Just about everyone now agrees that it needs to go.

    In fairness to Hillary, the main thrust of her health care plan, as I understand it, is to allow people to have access to the exact same listing of private health care insurance options that Congress and federal employees have access to now (the FEHBP), if you don’t happen to like your current health care plan. The FEHBP has a wide listing of different types of private insurance at very reasonable rates.

    “But just remember, there are a lot of other tax cuts they want to eliminate too, and, chances are, some of them will affect you.”

    Now now…no need to fear monger just because you hate the Clintons.

  2. “Do you really, honesty, think that her plan, if it was ever implemented, would actually do that in the end? I think they might fix that supposed “flaw” in her plan before implementation if that were the truth.”

    Not all “flaws” can be fixed. You can’t legislate that some people pay less without somebody else picking up the cost, unless you legislate maximums on premiums, which translates to capping profits. The problem is, when businesses don’t return enough profit, they’re forced to reduce services. If you pass more laws, saying they can’t do that, they’ll eventually shut down and switch to a more profitable line of business. (They’re in business to make a profit, after all. Thay’s why they’re called businesses and not charities.) The end result is fewer options for the consumer.

    The rates for the average healthy person will probably go up under this plan. Her “fix” for that flaw is to provide people with tax credits so, if they pay more than a certain percentage of their income, they get reimbursed by the government (e.g., the taxpayers). Of course, the “rich” will not be eligible because even expensive health insurance will amount to a smaller percentage of their income. At the same time, they lose the tax credits that everybody else gets. So we get to stick it to the rich twice with one plan! Pretty nifty, huh? (Capitalists must be punished!)

    WRT tax cuts, it isn’t fear-mongering. This comes straight from the donkey’s mouth. All of Bush’s tax cuts expire in 2010. The Republicans want to renew them and the Democrats are opposed. That’s a fact. Another fact is that these tax cuts affect all Americans, not just the rich.

  3. And that’s why there’s a growing consensus in this country that we need to take the profit-motive out of providing health care insurance. You’re opposed to that…it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

    I would be more concerned about what’s going on in your home state as it relates to health care reform. I heard a long while back that OR came up with a long list of health care procedures and then mandated which ones should be covered by plans in the state…or something like that. I think you also have a “death with dignity” law that we in VT have been trying to get passed here.

    I don’t think that we’ll get a Democrat in the White House that won’t want to reduce the tax burden on the middle and lower classes.

  4. I’m all for death with dignity. It’s a free will thing.

    WRT Oregon’s healthcare legislation, it’s rumored that, in February, the legislature will be entertaining a proposal to amend the state constitution to legislate that every Oregonian has a constitutional right to healthcare. The only problem is, they haven’t really considered yet how they’re going to fund it. =:[]
    (I have no idea what those guys are smoking, but it smells like skunkweed to me.)

  5. The proposal on healthcare scheduled for the February legislative session in Oregon is a move to establish a Constituional right in every person to unlimited healthcare.

    Whatever happened to providing for yourself?

    Whence come these dreams of governmental entitlements?

    Our healthcare system, lucrative as it is for some, is the greatest system in the world. We make the greatest contributions to the funding of research. We achieve the majority of the innovations and breakthroughs. What we have is an excellent endorsement of the government promoting the General Welfare via profit incentive in the free market. The only downside to that is that some corporations turn a profit.

    Bad, I guess, if you’ve got a thing against corporate profit.

  6. Jackson, your words of wisdom are always welcome.
    I hope you’ll be a regular visitor here.

  7. If you want to destroy the best health care system in the world, just legislate away the profit. Simple, then build a system like Canada, so no one will have comprehensive health care in the western hemisphere. And it’ll only cost us another 30% or so of our incomes, and our brilliant Drs. will turn to trading commodity futures from their dens at home.

  8. No one is out to build a health care system exactly like any other country has. This is America…we have almost more money here than God. The single payer systems that I’ve seen planned cost no where near the percentage that you claim either. Doctors in other countries make plenty of money BTW.

  9. […] presents Redistribution of Health posted at Government is not your Daddy. […]

  10. […] presents Redistribution of Health posted at Government is not your Daddy. […]

  11. Good info. and reading. I would definitely bookmark you to check for new updates.
    Thanks,
    Dean


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