Editorial Faults Wisconsin Universal Coverage Effort
A proposal by Wisconsin Democrats that seeks to make their state "a petri dish for government-run health care" is "especially instructive because it reveals where the 'single-payer,' universal coverage folks end up," the Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial.
According to the editorial, the proposal, which would extend health insurance to all state residents younger than age 65, would cost an estimated $15.2 billion annually -- $3 billion more than the state collects in taxes. The proposal would impose a 14.5% employment tax on wages and "includes a tax escalator clause allowing an additional 1.5 percentage payroll tax to finance higher outlays in the future," the editorial states.
"One reason to expect costs to soar is that the state may become a mecca for the unemployed, uninsured and sick from all over North America" because the proposal would only require that individuals live in the state for one year before they become eligible, according to the editorial.
Supporters of the proposal "use the familiar argument for national health care that this will save money (about $1.8 billion a year) through efficiency gains by eliminating the administrative costs of private insurance," but "those costs won't vanish; they'll merely shift to all taxpayers and businesses," the editorial states.
In addition, the proposal is "openly hostile to market incentives to contain costs," the editorial states. Private companies "are making modest progress in sweating out health care inflation by making patients more cost-conscious" through increased copayments, health savings accounts and wellness programs, but the proposal "moves in the opposite direction," the editorial states.
"So where will the savings come from? Where they always do in any government plan: Rationing via price controls and, as costs rise, waiting periods and coverage restrictions," the editorial states (Wall Street Journal, 7/24).