does romney’s approach to health care spell the end of employer-provided insurance?

April 24, 2012

in health care reform

it’s a busy time at context, so i’ll be writing a little less frequently and indepth than usual. instead i’ll pass along interesting information, such as these two articles on romney’s health care reform plans.

in monday’s los angeles times, noam m. levey writes about romney’s plans for health care should he become the next president:

“Romney’s plan could fundamentally change the rules for the more than 150 million Americans who get insurance through their employers. These workers get a large tax break because their health benefits are not taxed. Businesses that provide insurance also get a break because their contributions to their employees’ health plans aren’t taxed.

“In place of that system, Romney would give Americans a tax break to buy their own health plans, regardless of whether their employers offered coverage.”

the movement away from employer-provided benefits, the logic goes, allows employees to shop for what they want, ensures the jobless aren’t discriminated against for being jobless and alters the upward climb of health care costs:

“Many experts think the current system also pushes up healthcare costs because it gives employers an incentive to provide generous health benefits, which are tax-free, rather than pay higher wages, which would be taxed.”

jonathan cohn in the new republic also supports this final logic, with one caveat:

“The tax break for employer insurance distorts the health care economy, by giving companies extra incentive to provide benefits and giving workers artificial incentive to demand them. In that sense, getting rid of it is a perfectly sensible idea—if, at the same time, you make other regulatory changes, so that people who no longer get coverage through work are able to get affordable, reliable coverage on their own. The Affordable Care Act, which slowly reduces the employer health benefit tax break while simultaneously creating insurance exchanges with subsidies for the middle class and poor, does this. The Republican plans would not.”

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QuoVagis April 25, 2012 at 5:46 am

This woman http://reallycheaphealthinsurance.com/romneys-real-position-on-pre-existing-conditions-unclear/ thinks he’s on two minds about it. But scary nonetheless.

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