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November 13, 2005

More Attacks on Employer-Based Health Care

And so the ideological drumbeat to kill workplace health benefits keeps expanding-- right in line with Wal-Mart's and General Motors' attempts to undermine the idea that they have a responsibility to their employees' health.

And so you get the arguments for cutting employer-based care-- it would be more efficient, more fair, allow folks to change jobs more easily, and so on.

It sounds reasonable and if the alternative was a true universal health care system, I'd be all for it. Except as the NY Times piece linked to above shows, that's not what's being proposed:

Imagine what would happen if everyone received a federal voucher good for a typical plan - and could keep any savings after buying a cheaper plan that still met basic standards. In that case, we would shop with an eye for value, instead of just giving the boss the bill. The well-to-do, meanwhile, could augment their vouchers with after-tax money.
This rhetoric isn't about ending a two-tier health system but about institutionalizing it-- and pushing companies providing decent health care to blue collar workers at places like General Motors to dump it in favor of the proposed cut-rate plan.

The article talks about the savings from tax reform around the deduction for health care benefits, but this is all a smokescreen for ignoring the real gains from reforming the tax code-- repealing tax cuts for the wealthy to pay for good health care for the uninsured.

Instead- the game is to pit those workers who have fought over decades for health care benefits against those without-- and leave the tax cuts of the wealthy untouched.

Posted by Nathan at November 13, 2005 10:55 AM