Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Look Out Behind You

Suppose you are one of those lucky people that actually has health-care insurance sponsored by your employer. I do. It's very nice. It might even prevent my family from going completely bankrupt due to severe illness or injury someday.

Having health insurance is like free money. These benefits certainly have value, which not even initially taxed. Not yet, anyways.

Oh great. More "limited government" from our friends and neighbors who toil so diligently on our behalf inside the beltway.

In place of the current system, the task force, known as the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, is said to be examining a plan that would allow employers to provide tax-exempt health coverage up to a certain dollar limit. Benefits that exceeded the limit would be treated as taxable income.

In theory, that seems fair. But in practice, it would further subject health coverage to the political process. Who would determine which treatments should be included in basic, tax-exempt plans, and which should be considered nonessential? These questions have provoked political storms in the past -- for example, the battle over how long mothers should be allowed to remain in the hospital after delivery. Why invite more battles over basic care -- and more lobbying by special interests for favorable treatment? Of course, Congress might simply set a dollar limit, and let employers and health insurance companies design coverage plans to meet it. But that would create a patchwork system, with some workers getting better basic care than others.

Not only will this proposal see to it that more money is taken from middle-class pockets; it will also see to it that another layer of interference could manifest itself between you and the healthcare you might need. It's personal.

All politics is local, they say, and this is politics that reaches once again into your medical files and checkbook simultaneously. To paraphrase Marx (Groucho, not Karl,) if it were any more local it would be behind you.

Note that this idea is coming from a presidential task force. It's the president's idea. He owns it. It doesn't belong to anybody else. But you just have to wonder how they will eventually spin it as a "grass-roots effort" to increase "tax fairness" while they slather you in newspeak. Kind of like Social Security reform. Or the death tax.

Orwellian soundbites for the lumpen proles.

Similarly, the expression tossing cookies sounds rather nice, like a children's game, but of course it really means vomiting partially digested food. If you are a working American with any sense, then that is just what this proposal will make you do, preferably all over the members of said task force. Don't forget to aim for their shoes. Or higher up. That, I suppose, would be better.

So please tell me again how glad you are that Bush gave Tom Cruise huge tax breaks.


Jodie said...


Aren't these the same folks who want half the workforce to stay home with the kids?!

Nationalized healthcare would be better than taxing this holey patchwork we have now.

SassyNurse said...

It is scary to think of the future of healthcare in the US. I try not to but thats impossible working in the middle of it.

By the way I linked u! :)

Dale Overhill said...

Dubya: Marching the American middle class into extinction since 2000.

Every policy seems to be crafted to encourage more taxes on work and no taxes on wealth.

If I was rich (and lost my soul in a fixed card game with Satan), I'd worship the Cheney administration.

Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.