November 19, 2004

Letter to the Paper XXXIII

Obsidian Wings has the vapors over Bush tax reform proposals, especially the idea of removing the deductibility of employer sponsored health insurance. It's unfortunate that the other half of that plan, associational health insurance isn't explicitly linked to it. It should be, but because that was rolled out in a state of the union address some time ago, people are missing the obvious connection. Here's what I wrote in comments:

What the analysis so far has missed is the previously announced Bush policy to establish associational healthcare. That means that instead of getting your healthcare from your employer, you get it from the Lions Club or the Catholic Church. Change employers and you don't change health care plans. This makes for a vastly more empowered workforce as nobody is feeling trapped in their job just because junior has a health condition and they'd never get healthcare if they moved to a new job. You pick out the health care that works for you in the association you're comfortable with.

Now there's a whole lot of work to be done to make this actually sane instead of just potentially sane but I could see how it could be a positive thing for everybody. As part of the transition plan, you could mandate that employer healthcare spending had to be turned into cash and added to paychecks and there would have to be some sort of transition period where the associational health insurance system got set up and people moved off of employer provided health insurance.

Lets remember that the current system was an unintended consequence of WW II wage control legislation. It never has been a good idea that was planned. It was sort of an accident that we got in the habit of keeping around (sort of like that temporary tax from the spanish-american war that kept getting renewed every two years for the better part of a century). If we can move to different arrangements that provides better service, we should.

Posted by TMLutas at November 19, 2004 09:46 PM