What we should be worrying about: the unintended consequences of rushing through Congress a health care bill that nobody understands. (Yes, some of the intended consequences are pretty bad, too.)
That’s why we should all be bothered by the president’s repeated injunctions to stop talking and pass a health care bill!
James Capretta, one of the best writers on health care reform, had a terrific piece yesterday on Critical Care, the National Review blog, that noted some possible consequences nobody is talking about:
According to CBO, family coverage in 2016 is likely to cost about $14,400 under the so-called “silver option” in the health-care reform plan sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus. In the Baucus plan, a family of four at the poverty line (about $24,000 in 2016) would have pay to about $1,400 toward coverage, with the federal government paying the other $13,000 on their behalf. In addition, the government would also provide $3,500 to reduce the family’s deductible and co-payment costs for health services. Thus, the new entitlement provided by the Baucus bill would be worth a whopping $16,500 for a family at the poverty line.
As incomes rise, however, the Baucus bill cuts the value of the entitlement. A family with an income at twice the poverty line, or $48,000 in 2016, would get $9,072 in federal assistance for coverage — stilling a substantial sum. But its $7,400 less than the family would get if they earned half as much. The Baucus plan thus imposes an implicit marginal tax rate of about 30 percent ($7,400/$24,000) on wages earned by families in this income range….
Surely even the Democrats in Congress can see how damaging it would be to send signals to low-wage breadwinners that it no longer makes sense to seek a higher-paying job.