Aletrnative Health Care Proposal-AMA Style

Finally, something else to talk about than the same ‘ol Republican/Democratic proposals. The American Medical Association has expanded it’s original recommendations for universal healthcare to the current “three pillar” approach. Overall, conceptually, it seems less painful than some of the political proposals, but has some not so pleasing aspects itself. You can read a synopsis of the plan here.

The AMA’s three pillar approach is; 1. helping people buy health insurance through tax credits or vouchers; 2 choice for individuals and families in what health plan to join; 3 regulating markets and protecting high-risk patients. I don’t think anyone has an issue with numbers two and three of the three pillared approach. What is somewhat different is their proposal for how to pay for the tax credits and/or vouchers.

Their idea is to eliminate or markedly reduce the tax benefit that employers and or employees receive by not having the employer based healthcare benefits taxed. Most employers who provide health insurance are able to deduct the cost of insurance as a business expense, and therefore, pay no tax on them. Employees are not usually taxed for those benefits either. McCain’s plan opted to tax the employers. The AMA wants to tax the employees.

The AMA idea is to tax all, or a portion down to a minimum allowable, of the healthcare benefits to recoup the estimated 125 Billion in lost tax revenue. Those additional taxes would be used to pay for, or subsidize, low income or uninsured persons though tax credits or vouchers. The credits or vouchers HAVE to be used for the purchase of health care benefits. In essence, it amounts to another entitlement program through a redistribution of “wealth”.

Their thinking is that the highest income earners who receive the same employer-based health insurance benefit, receive the largest tax break since they are in a higher tax bracket. True, but only if those benefits are universally taxed for all recipients. They are not at the present time. This amounts to the same type of taxation and redistribution of wealth that occurs now. People of higher incomes are taxed at a higher rate. Those dollars are used to pay for the government funded entitlement programs that the higher income individuals will NEVER benefit from.

This is not a “government funded” or subsidized program. It is the creation of a new tax and the subsidy is coming from, on a percentage basis, the same taxpayers who are already providing a larger percentage of their income for entitlement programs. That is a perfect definition of a distribution of wealth.

I am all for a form of universal healthcare that takes care of all of us, including those who contribute no taxes into the government coffers. But, I do not think that the first place to look is in the pocket of the populous who are already paying their fair share of taxes. Why not look to the greed of the insurance companies or the horrible inefficiency and waste of government programs? Pay for it with the SAVINGS that can be wrung out of the current failed system, not by creating ANOTHER tax.

I’m tired of working the first 6 months of every year just to pay taxes. How about you?

Doc B

My opinion is free.
Advice is worth exactly what you pay for it.


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