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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In todays Opinion (found at http://tinyurl.com/ybltpld) Newt Gingrich has deigned to give us his take on the healthcare debate. Obama said he wanted new ideas, and Newt has some, or thinks he has some. The question is, Are Newt's ideas just more Republican blather? Well, I thought we should look at his list, one item at a time. Here's the first bullet in Newt's gun:

• Make insurance affordable. The current taxation of health insurance is arbitrary and unfair, giving lavish subsidies to some, like those who get Cadillac coverage from their employers, and almost no relief to people who have to buy their own. More equitable tax treatment would lower costs for individuals and families. Many health economists conclude that tax relief for health insurance should be a fixed-dollar amount, independent of the amount of insurance purchased. A step in the right direction would be to give Americans the choice of a generous tax credit or the ability to deduct the value of their health insurance up to a certain amount.

Yeah, that's it! We'll just make it affordable. That'll fix everything. (OK, I'll back off a bit.) He's saying that the tax subsidies we currently give to the unions for their "Cadillac plans" should be given across the board to everyone...especially the little guy who has to buy his own stinking plans. Um, I'd like to meet that little guy. Currently the typical healthcare plan costs over thirteen thousand dollars a year. A pretty hefty sum to come up with if you're a little guy. How many of those "little guys" are there I wonder?

The thing that is truly ironic about this idea is that...he's right on the button about one thing: Just let's make it affordable! Oh, not by using tax credits allowing "the little guy"--who is actually pretty much a figment of his imagination--to buy his own stinking insurance, but by actually making insurance so inexpensive that everyone gets to have the same quality care.

Not possible, you say? Well, they do it in England, Canada, France, Germany, Japan (are you going to make me write all the countries in the industrial West? Thank you!). But not here. Here we like to subsidize the private insurance corporations allowing them to soak the public and make gazillions of profits which in turn allows said companies to buy themselves representatives and senators who then vote for more subsidies giving them more profit allowing them to buy even more representatives...

It's the American way. And it seems to have worked quite well. Up until now.

Up next: Newt's Great Idea #2!

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