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When it comes to our health care system, most of us agree that America is ready for a change. The plans proposed by Congress are not the solution we need. If you look at the numbers, you’ll see that a government-run approach to health insurance is not only a bad idea for patients, but is also fiscally reckless and will make health care costs higher in the long-run.
No matter how it is initially structured, a government-run plan would, over time, dismantle employer-based coverage. By setting artificially low prices, a government-run plan would significantly increase costs for those who remain in private coverage, and would add additional liabilities to the federal budget.
Today, we have the opportunity to create a health care system for the future – building on what works and fixing what’s broken.
Doctors and Patients
People in countries with government-run plans find that patient access to care is affected. This is the inevitable result when, rather than focusing on fixing the delivery system and finding better ways to pay providers and implement efficiencies, the government instead focuses on taxes, mandates and new bureaucracy.
None of the proposed plans take into account the incredible costs associated with this kind of broad reform. Government-run health care is an expense that our economy simply cannot bear. Just think, costs associated with other government-run programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) consistently have outgrown budget projections. Many economists believe that this amount of spending is not sustainable. In fact, according to government actuaries, the unfunded liabilities of current government-run health care programs are in the tens of trillions of dollars.
A government-run plan that would have broad and unrivaled power to negotiate for low-cost services of doctors and other health care providers could put private insurers out of business.
Businesses may be forced to pay a fee equal to 8% of their payroll, which could put them in the tough position of having to cut jobs or delay plans for growth. Roughly half of all private sector workers could be adversely affected because their small business employers can least afford this additional tax.
Employers also could face paying a tax even if they provide their employees with health insurance. Under one of the proposals in Congress, employers with 50 or more employees would have to pay a tax if an employee chooses to enter a health insurance “exchange” and forgo their employer sponsored insurance.
At the end of the day, businesses and consumers will be stuck paying higher costs – as new taxes are levied on health care providers, insurance providers, certain individuals and businesses to help pay for reforms and the government-run health plan.
Taxes currently under consideration by Congress include:
- Making insurance companies pay a 40% tax on higher-value health care plans (so-called “Cadillac plans”). Such a tax could impact lower and middle class Americans, as these costs could be passed down to all health plans, not just Cadillac plans.
- Employer pay-or-play requirements that could amount to as much as 8% of payroll, forcing employers to make a choice between providing health care they can’t afford or laying off employees.
- Taxes on individual income that will hurt small business and, because the taxes are not indexed to inflation, cost the middle class hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years.
- The Joint Committee on Taxation has found that 1/3 of those hit with the new “surtax” are small businesses.
- Increased taxes on health savings accounts.
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