Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Good Ideas for Health Care Reform

There are a lot of good ideas for reforming health care.

Unfortunately, the Democrats don't know any.

Healthcare should be reformed to improve portability, affordability, and availability.

The Democrats, a wholly owned subsidiary of the labor unions, will never bite the bullet for real reform, which simply is to end the exemption of employer-provided healthcare from income taxation.

From my readings of taxation documentation, it is abundantly clear that all compensation is taxable, except that which is excluded by Congress. Why some is excluded has everything to do with politics, and nothing to do with tax equity. The same congress people that mount soapboxes and proclaim their progressive principles never give a thought that exempting employer-provided healthcare is the largest and one of the most regressive special interest tax breaks.

Employees who think they're getting a good deal by having their employers provide healthcare should think again. For example, I worked for Lockheed Corporation after retiring from the Air Force. As a military retiree, I had lifetime medical coverage for myself, my wife, and children until they completed college or turned 18 if they didn't go on to college. Lockheed also insisted on providing me and my family healthcare, and when I told them I was already covered and that they could just pay me what they would be paying for healthcare, they said they didn't work that way. So there I was, getting something of no value to me, getting no use from a "benefit" that had its cost deducted from my compensation. In essence, I was forced to pay hundreds of dollars a month for nothing.

Another example. A Lockheed co-worker had a great offer of employment with a Silicon Valley hi-tech company, but couldn’t take it because his wife had a medical condition that would make it impossible for him to get health insurance when he left Lockheed.

Just at Lockheed there were examples galore of employees not getting full value or control from their Lockheed-provided medical coverage.

Hoever, when you enter the world of the self-employed you find that employees provided health care by their employers don't have a lot to gripe about, since they get tax-subsidized healthcare, and the self-employed don't. To further rub it in, the self-employed also get to help subsidize the healthcare of others through their taxes and their higher healthcare premiums (since they don't have the clout with the insurers of the big employers).

As usual, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute have intensively studied this issue and proposed thoughtful solutions. The Cato proposal of Large Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) would be a perfect reform: it would be portable, flexible, only involve tweaking the existing HSA legislation, and would reintroduce market forces into healthcare to promote competition and affordability.

To learn more, go here for the Cato Institute analysis and proposal, and here for the Heritage Foundation.
You'll never get this information from Democrats or the Main Stream Media because they know that knowledge is power, and to them Americans' ignorance is bliss.

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