Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Health Care Rationing By Another Name

President Obama and his allies in Congress continue to insist that "health care reform" will not mean federal government takeover of the medical care system in the United States, and they are not attempting to ration care as a way of reducing the overall cost of health care as a portion of America's Gross Domestic Product. However, as Congress explores various methods of paying for what the CBO has now scored as the $150 billion annual cost of the proposed legislation, one serious revenue raising proposal offered is taxing all employer provided health benefits greater than 110% of the federal government employee health benefits. This means that if your business, together with employee contributions, would pay more than $17,240 per year in 2013 for family health coverage, or more than $6,800 per year for individual health coverage, every dollar in excess of those amounts would be taxed at the employee's highest marginal rate.

What ever happened to "if you like your present plan, you can keep it?" And if this does not represent a form of rationing of health benefits, I must have missed class the day my high school English teacher explained the new meaning of the word "rationing."

Other measures under discussion for funding the enormous cost of universal health coverage for all Americans include increasing the current Medicare tax from 1.45% up to 2.1% of the employee's income, and a "value added tax" of 3% on everything except housing, banking, education and medical care. Ouch!! Finally, Representative Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania suggests a ten cents a can tax on all naturally sweetened soda drinks. Diet sodas would not be taxed.
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