Monday, July 27, 2009

We all have gold plated health plans

I worked at a lot of places and had a lot of health plans over the years. Each one paid for everything, accidents, cancer, operations, obstetrics, drug addiction, chiropractice, mental illness, prescription drugs, you name it. That's the ordinary company health plan.
Is that gold plated? What more could a health plan offer?
I think the current talk about taxing gold plated health plans actually means taxing all company plans. Which means taxing most people's health plans, since most people get their health insurance thru their company.
The real reason companies offer nice health plans is the tax break. The plan is tax free to the employee, and so a dollar of health care is worth $1.50, more than a dollar of ordinary taxable salary to employees. Eliminate that tax break and companies will decide it's easier to just pay salary rather than messing around with health care. Given five or ten years and most of us are out of company paid health care and doing God knows what.
You cannot finance health care by taxing health care. It's like hoisting yourself by your bootstraps. Obama needs to learn this.

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