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Story Archives: Obama's about face
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|Obama's about face|
Last year, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama roundly criticized Sen. John McCain for suggesting a McCain administration would entertain leveling a tax on health insurance benefits employers offer employees.
Obama effectively painted McCain's idea as a huge tax increase on middle-class Americans. He suggested at the time that McCain's proposal would prompt employers to require employees to pay more money toward the health insurance plans they participated in or agreed to buy.
Now it would appear Obama believes McCain was on to something good. That's the very least we can discern in light of the Obama administration's about face, or its recent offering to the so-called national media that it would consider taxing health insurance benefits.
According to media reports, including The New York Times, the Obama administration and liberal Democrats on Capitol Hill are desperately searching for $1.2 trillion-plus that they need to provide health insurance for middle-class America. Let's simply call it what it is -- an attempt to implement socialized medicine. Or universal health care. Take your pick.
In recent testimony before a congressional committee and in an interview with The Times, Obama administration officials said the president would consider supporting a plan -- if Congress approved it -- in which employers would lose tax deductions they currently are offered for providing health insurance for employees. Presumably, Democrats would cap the exclusion by income or cost of a health insurance plan, so that those who receive the most lucrative benefits would pay more for the privilege of being in a position to get it.
Monies generated by the new Obama/Democratic Party tax -- up to $452 billion over 10 years -- supposedly would go a long way toward paying for a new health insurance program for middle-class Americans, though no specifics have been disclosed on how the $1.2 trillion-plus health insurance program would work. The proposal is being bantered about by the likes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other liberals in Congress who we could safely describe as Leftists in the worst sense of the word.
The Obama/Democratic Party proposal supposedly is intended to help employees who either work for an employer that does not offer employee health insurance or for employees who cannot afford to participate in a health insurance plan their employers currently offer.
The reality of it is that the employer-based tax deduction is unfair in many ways, and it contributes greatly to the high costs of health care in America. It also plays a significant role in why so many Americans have no health insurance at all.
The employer-based tax deduction creates a coverage gap between those who receive health insurance thanks to an employer and those who pay -- or can't afford to pay -- for it with after-tax personal income. A universal tax credit would restore some tax parity, and over time it would create demand for less expensive health insurance in which consumers -- not employers -- are in control of how their money is spent on health insurance.
Currently, there is no incentive to attempt to control health care costs since the market isn't controlling prices nor recognizing value. Capping the open-ended tax exclusion would pressure excess health insurance, which contributes to rising health care spending.
At least that's the way it's supposed to work in a free market economy.
We suspect, however, that Obama and other liberal Democrats have no intention of creating a new private market for individual health insurance, which certainly would arise if a universal tax credit, or deduction, were offered for individuals to buy their own health insurance.
Instead, they want to get rid of any tax deductions employers can claim so the monies generated by a new tax on the business community can be used to finance a new universal health insurance program modeled after Medicare. It would be open to middle-class Americans, and there would be no need for private insurers to get involved in the mix.
In the end, we would be saddled with a new nationalized (or socialized or universal) health insurance program in which Big Brother -- the government -- controls everything concerning health care, including which medical procedures would be considered essential or non-essential or whatever.
In our corner of the world, it's simply another ploy by Obama and liberal Democrats to socialize America.
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