The future of health insurance looks pretty good from Richard Burr's perspective. Our junior senator has proposed a bill that he thinks will offer everyone medical coverage. He would tax health benefits that employees currently receive tax-free as part of their compensation and use that revenue to offer tax credits for health expenses. Those would total up to $2,160 for individuals and $5,400 for families. I'll wait while you finish laughing. That wouldn't cover even the premiums my small family pays, much less all the expenses beyond those.
Clearly this would spell the end of employer-based health coverage, and it solves nothing. With no employment benefits to tax, there'd be no revenue for the utterly ridiculous tax credits that wouldn't cover anything anyway. I'll hand one to Burr, it's a paean to the underlying status quo. It does nothing to reduce the ginormous cost of private health insurance, and guarantees the insurers brisk business. Of course, they'll have to market their plans more widely and aggressively, so the costs could conceivably rise. But that's okay, the point is to keep everything rolling along the way it is, and pretend you've actually done something for someone. In truth, he's doing something for those who have long done for him.
Burr is a longtime friend of the health-care industry. Health-care professionals have been, as an industry, the top donors to his federal campaigns during his career in the Senate and House of Representatives, giving a total of nearly $922,000 since 1994.
He also received $585,000 from pharmaceutical companies, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit agency that tracks campaign spending in Washington."
According to the N&O, Burr "said the plan would give patients buying power by allowing them to hunt for their own, personalized coverage." I like the use of the word hunt. It gives the whole thing a life-and-death flavor, which truthfully describes how desperate one would feel trying to cover even an individual's nut at these paltry sums. Talk about adding insult to outrage, it would hurt chronically ill workers the most. How are they supposed to get on a new plan when their employers stop offering the one they're already on? I have to stop thinking about this now, I can't afford the apoplexy.