Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Max Baucus channels Goldilocks

I’ve repeatedly heard that supporters of the Baucus bill justify their tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans by claiming such plans encourage “excessive” use of health care. (See this for the example that finally sent me over the edge.) This is somewhere between insane and just plain creepy.

I understand that we may well want to control the amount of money our government spends on health care because, hey, it’s our tax money and there are other things we as a nation might want to spend that money on: aircraft carriers; food stamps; national parks; retiring the debt. That’s fine and I think it’s perfectly reasonable for our elected representatives to try to balance our desire and/or need for other government services with our desire and/or need for government help with health care costs.

But it’s none of the government’s business how much a private individual spends on health care. If I want to spend 10% of my income on health care, that’s up to me. If I’d rather spend 90% of my income on health care, that’s up to me too. Where is it written that there is some magic amount of health care that’s not too big, not too small, but just right?

If the Baucus bill supporters want to pay for their plans by taxing “Cadillac” health insurance policies because they can be made (however mendaciously) to sound like something only rich people have and are thus an easy target for confiscatory tax rates, so be it. But don’t give me this nonsense about how such plans encourage excessive use of health care. My money, my choice what to spend it on.

No comments: