Bush's Better Health-Care Policy

Article excerpt


If a liberal president proposed reforming the tax code to give working families a bigger tax break for health care than corporations and giving poor families direct assistance to buy health care to boot, the New York Times and rest of the mainstream media would be choking back tears as it praised an initiative that was so bold in its compassion and desire for fairness.

But this proposal to make the tax code fair and health care affordable comes from President Bush with a Congress under Democratic control in the run to a presidential election year. So it will be attacked for failing to be everything that everyone else's proposal is not.

The fact is, the Bush plan slices through the thicket of policy proposals all of which boil down to dumping more people into state Medicaid programs and gives the self employed and uninsured, from the single mom who cuts hair to the electrician starting his own business, a tax break of about $3,800 to buy health care. Under the president's plan, millions of working-class and middle-class families could buy health care with pretax dollars. It only comes at the expense of the richest health plans of top CEOs. Even then, those wanting to avoid a tax bite at that level can set up a health-savings account.

According to a study by the Urban Institute, 44 percent of people without health care don't have it because they don't want to spend the money or because they don't sign up for government-run health plans even when eligible. …