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POLICY/POLITICS: Bush’s Health Plan

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I’m up over at Spot-on discussing the basics of Bush’s Health Plan. Go read and return to comment.


I was awakened during my slumber through the State of the Union by a
mention from President George Bush of a health care proposal that I
almost agreed with.


No, I haven’t come around on health savings accounts, and association health plans.
Nor did I join the Republicans in their standing ovation for
malpractice reform. The Bush proposal that woke me up was the creating
a tax deduction for health insurance that would apply to everyone.
Potentially this really matters, and inside it is the germ of the right
idea. But I guarantee you that most Americans won’t have a clue where
this came from, and why it made it into the president’s speech.

Let me explain a little. Health insurance for the vast majority
of Americans (60%+) comes from their employers. 99.9% of Americans
think that this is a natural relationship that costs them nothing and
they, in general, have no idea what it costs their employer. This is
though a historical accident, with its roots in a wage freeze policy
during WWII when employers added benefits to attract workers because
they couldn’t raise pay rates. The idea became fixed after the Supreme
Court ruled that health benefits didn’t count as taxable income.


So, today, you’re better off getting insurance paid for by your
employer than taking the cash, getting taxed and buying the same
insurance yourself. Lately self-employed people have also been able to
deduct their health insurance costs so the only saps left paying for
health insurance with post-tax dollars are those who are not
self-employed, don’t get it from their insurers and actually buy it
themselves.


You may think that’s not very fair, and you’d be right. Which is why Bush’s proposal is interesting.Go on, Continue …

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DaveMiguel CabrerM CarterHakkayya SuttlinKimberly Recent comment authors
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Dave
Guest

Looking for some passionate people with web cams,
to join the debate answer this question, in a video.
The Federal Government should provide free health care for all Americans.
Do you agree? yes or no,
Tell us why, make a video. Use a web-cam or camcorder be funny be creative use animation, clay-mation, wear a mask, make a sock puppet or just stand in front of a blank wall and make your point. Post the link in the comment section on:
http://videodebater.com/?p=17
Health care | VideoDebater.com

Miguel Cabrer
Guest

Very interesting discussion about USA Health Plans. I know it’s not easy to manage healthcare from political aspect and countries should learn one from others.
This blog is a extremely nice innitiative, congratulations.
I also posted the new in http://health2.info/story.php?id=72 to be discussed.

M Carter
Guest

It’s unfortunate that we have to see such blatant examples of ignorance. The fact is most people don’t even know what a tax deduction is or how to take advantage of it. The only ones that will benefit from this particular measure would be the upper middle class…the ones who can afford a significant health care which would actually be a pricey enough type of health care plan that a deduction of the premium might actually be a significant savings.

Hakkayya Suttlin
Guest
Hakkayya Suttlin

Everyone should have the same health care coverage that Bush and members of Congress have. No exceptions!! Why should low income people be paying taxes for health care for these people when they cannot afford health care for themselves?

Kimberly
Guest

1998 –U.S.Attorney General & Office of Inspector General – Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control [ T18CFR371Crime ] would be established as an expenditure account within the Federal Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund. . OPM FEHBP [CITE: 5CFR185.104] PROGRAM FRAUD Sec. 185.104 Investigation. (d) Nothing in this section modifies any Responsibility of an Investigating Official ( OIG ) to Report Violations of Criminal Law [ DHHS Anti-dumping & Anti-Kickback Violations T42CFR417 Against Retired ‘Entitled’ Federal Beneficiaries CITE: 5CFR890.105 for criminal HCFA Medicaid kickback conversions T18CFR286 ] to the U.S.Attorney General. . Office of Inspector General – Misprison of a felony… Read more »

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

To solve the health care situation in the U.S., the two main issues that need to be addressed are the lack of a requirement for coverage and individual accountability. This proposal attempts to solve both problems. For any type of insurance to work, the risk needs to be spread out as widely as possible. Since everyone will at some point need some type of coverage, possibly extensive, it only makes sense that everyone should pay an equal portion to health care for the span of his or her life. This is the only sure way to keep rates for everyone… Read more »

Roger Walker
Guest

I am an insurance broker who talks to people in need of insurance coverage. I also talk to medicaid people (Under 150% income level) who use government run health care. It is clear to me that government can not provide health care directly to the people. Government can not issue pass ports in a timely manner and would not be able to issue health cares in a timely manner. Look to New Zealand for what national health care does. In New Zealand people buy health insurance supplement plans becasue if they don’t have a supplement plan they can not see… Read more »

Jeff Hovard
Guest

Thanks for the comments, Dr. Thom!

EB
Guest
EB

Jack, Your entire argument is based on administrative expenses and you’re using old data. Administrative cost ratios are down to the 14% to 16% range, which is a significant savings for the entire system. Is it still too high, certainly, but they will never be eliminated and you fail to recognize that fact as well. Medicare and most state Medicaid systems use the private sector to administrate claims; therefore the notion of a single payer system is truly a farce. Furthermore, you have failed to address the real causes of raising healthcare costs in this country…our aging population and the… Read more »

Jim Newcomer
Guest
Jim Newcomer

W’s HEALTH PLAN = two new Ws’ (Germs?): WINDFALL(W1) and/or WHEREWITHALL(W2) At least that is my conclusion re the following excerpt from THCB dated January 25, 2007 POLICY/POLITICS: Bush’s Health Plan: “The Bush proposal that woke me up was the creating a tax deduction for health insurance that would apply to everyone. Potentially this really matters, and inside it is the germ of the right idea. But I guarantee you that most Americans won’t have a clue where this came from, and why it made it into the president’s speech.” Initially, Kudos’ to you and THCB for being a terrific… Read more »

George Jaspert
Guest

his site has a hybrid proposal for the uninsured: Creates 50 new state workforces of Universal Health Care Workers, at lower labor rates to provide direct health care to the uninsured vs. insuring them with health care policies. This would separate them from the current system which must raise rates to cover the 42 million who are uninsured. This policy does not or using Canadian style health care for everyone. Utilizes non for profit retired, college and foreign workers. The new UHC workers would not need medical policies themselves. It also issue a New Universal State (Part B Policies) so… Read more »

George Jaspert
Guest

his site has a hybrid proposal for the uninsured: Creates 50 new state workforces of Universal Health Care Workers, at lower labor rates to provide direct health care to the uninsured vs. insuring them with health care policies. This would separate them from the current system which must raise rates to cover the 42 million who are uninsured. This policy does not or using Canadian style health care for everyone. Utilizes non for profit retired, college and foreign workers. The new UHC workers would not need medical policies themselves. It also issue a New Universal State (Part B Policies) so… Read more »

DrThom
Guest
DrThom

Whoa there Mr. Leith, your fallacious premise is showing. You are assuming the that the average medical school matriculate would earn the average income in some other field. They would not. They would excell. They are talented, driven individuals who would earn many times the average in their chosen fields of endevour. An average achiever in our general population could not survive much less much less excell in the medical school curriculum. It takes uncommon ability to adequately grasp the concepts required to safely apply current medical knowlege. The “economic rent plus” you describe is the price society pays for… Read more »

Jack Lohman
Guest

I am a firm believer in paying good docs well ($200-500K in wages), just not on the basis of how many tests they order or don’t order. That also falls in the “top 10%” in case we are being picky. The bad docs should be used in lesser responsible positions until they work themselves up the ladder. Of course we have no way of judging that today, but over time we should develop a national database that tracks practice patterns, practice variations, successes and failures, and etc. I would guess with this info the clinics can compete for the better… Read more »

Tom Leith
Guest
Tom Leith

Jack Lohman writes: > Good docs should indeed earn in the top 10% wages Well, that means a “good doc” would earn around $75K per year. $100K puts him in the top 5%. So by your lights this problem is entirely solved already. A very gross analysis could look something like this: median income in the US is about $40K. People ought to expect a return on their investments. If a doc invests $1M in his own training (tuition, foregone income) let’s say he ought to realize 5% on that each year, or about $50K. ~$40K + ~$50K ~= $90K,… Read more »