By now most of the country has heard about Senator Baucus’ proposal for ending the troubled “healthcare system” in this country. My first response to the “Baucus” proposal is: start using correct terminology. I, for one, have become very weary of pundits and politicians alike who use the term “healthcare” to discuss “health insurance.” Nowhere in the Baucus proposal is there a plan for getting more primary care providers to see actual patients! The proposal expands local, state and federal government programs and government’s regulatory authority. It does not provide essential healthcare to anyone. But, I digress! These are topics for another day; as is the topic of why it took so long for our esteemed Senator to get to this particular problem.
The topic for today’s edition of “Other People’s Money” is the insignificant little detail contained within the proposal regarding taxation of Health Care Benefits provided by employers to their employees. That’s right, as an employee, your benefits package might now be taxed to ensure there is a sufficient amount of money to pay for the Senator’s Proposal. Can anyone out there say, Disincentive? Can anyone say, Hypocrisy? If you can, I hope you are shouting out loud within the confines of your abode!
First, Hypocrisy: the election not far behind us, is there one soul out there who did not see or hear the various advertisements by Senators Obama, Baucus, and Tester (in some print materials), accusing John McCain of wanting to tax YOUR healthcare benefits package? Do you think these guys believed they could get away with the accusations meant to undermine McCain by making the statement during the heat of the campaign when “nobody is paying attention?” If you’re not certain of the answer, get back to me.
Second, Disincentive: what happens on the playground when one child is repeatedly punished for being thoughtful and respectful of another child? You don’t need a psychology degree to figure out the answer. Say it with me: reinforced negative behavior and mistrust. The Proposal is no more than a “big boy’s” version of childish games which reinforces negative rather than positive behaviors. Business can’t trust employees! Employees can’t trust employers! Everybody needs to look to the ever growing “Big Daddy!” Let us hope there is a great deal of Montana All-American Introspection associated with this new Proposal!
Wishing you a good day, Justitia!