UNINSURED: Coalition of Wonks Tout Tax Breaks
A diverse coalition of economists and health policy analysts from leading think tanks has come out strongly in favor of tax breaks to cut the uninsurance rate and improve the nation's health care market, arguing that a "new and more equitable set of incentives" will contain health care costs, enhance quality and expand access to care. The Health Policy Consensus Group, which includes members of the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise, Cato, Galen, Progressive Policy and Urban institutes, recommends that low-income individuals and high-risk health plan enrollees be specifically targeted for the tax breaks (Rovner/Morrissey, CongressDaily, 6/2). In an Investor's Business Daily op-ed, HPCG signatory Naomi Lopez of the Pacific Research Institute's Center for Enterprise and Opportunity writes that the group's "common-sense recommendation eschews big government solutions," and could "drastically improve health care for every American -- especially the 43 million who lack any insurance." She argues that the current tax code "creates numerous misguided incentives," including employee insensitivity to the price of health insurance, lower wages, workers stuck in their jobs "solely to keep their health care coverage" and inflated health insurance rates. She touts proposals to give individuals the right that employers currently have to deduct health insurance premiums, and concludes, "With a more efficient health care system, Washington could trim the tax subsidy for health care, $40 billion in direct federal health care services for the uninsured and more than $70 billion" for Medicaid (6/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.