Friday, July 09, 2004

Krugman on Kerry's health care plan. (NYT link, you know what to do)

the plan? rescind the tax cuts for the top 3 percent of the population (those with incomes over $200,000), then use that money to raise the maximum incomes under which families must fall to be eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, followed by providing "reinsurance" for those medical bills exceeding $50,000/year. according to mr. k, this would drive down premiums by 10% or more, as the "reinsurance" really is for the insurers and HMOs, who currently absorb these high costs.

the plusses? making sure that ALL parents and children, regardless of income, have access to good healthcare (y'know, the part about "life" in the "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" bit...). keeping premiums affordable for the insured. that sorta thing.

also, the cost/benefit analysis looks good, to me, at least:

"...the Kerry plan will require increased federal spending. Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University, an independent health care expert who has analyzed both the Kerry and Bush plans, puts the net cost of the plan to the federal government at $653 billion over the next decade. Is that a lot of money?

Not compared with the Bush tax cuts: the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that if these cuts are made permanent, as the administration wants, they will cost $2.8 trillion over the next decade.

The Kerry campaign contends that it can pay for its health care plan by rolling back only the cuts for taxpayers with incomes above $200,000. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which has become the best source for tax analysis now that the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy has become a propaganda agency, more or less agrees: it estimates the revenue gain from the Kerry tax plan at $631 billion over the next decade."


"What are the objections to the Kerry plan? One is that it falls far short of the comprehensive overhaul our health care system really needs. Another is that by devoting the proceeds of a tax-cut rollback to health care, Mr. Kerry fails to offer a plan to reduce the budget deficit. But on both counts Mr. Bush is equally, if not more, vulnerable. And Mr. Kerry's plan would help far more people than it would hurt."

and really, the last sentence says it all: "If we ever get a clear national debate about health care and taxes, I don't see how President Bush will win it."

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