With the economy potentially rebounding, I thought it would be important to go back to some of the fundamental differences between the candidates. Both candidates remark that they will reduce taxes, but both are a little broad with what they term as tax cuts. For example, both refer to tax credits as tax cuts; tax credits are actually different than tax cuts. A tax credit can be offered to citizens who, for example, are not paying taxes; a tax cut is an actual reduction in your tax bracket percentage. With that being said, I decided to research their positions on taxes, looking specifically at their position on health care and taxes, and found some helpful points: I will start in alphabetical order to maintain neutrality.
John McCain and health care tax credit:
- offers tax credit of up to $5000 for health care. While this is true, it is stretched. $5,000 would be for a family, while an individual would receive $2500. The National Coalition of Health Care, a “rigorously non-partisan”, non profit organization states that health care costs grew twice the rate of inflation. In fact, premiums for employers amounted to $12,710 and employees contributed $3300 to premiums. Workers are also now paying $1400 more in annual premiums compared to 2008. The average employee contribution has also increased 143% compared to 2000 annual employee contributions.
- What this tax credit is likely to do is reduce the number of employer provided health benefits, pushing more of the $12,710 of premiums onto the employee. Additionally, pushing further privatization of health care into the markets may create a similar situation as that seen in the housing and financial sectors. Citizens may be misled by fly-by-night predatory health insurance providers that do not disclose the small print. Quality of service will go down, while insurance premiums, co-pays and other out of pocket costs go up.
- offers a get everyone insured upfront program through what he terms as the National Insurance Exchange. With IT advancements, health insurance costs will go down for citizens. For those with catastrophic illness or injury, the costs of these types of situations get diverted to the government, thereby reducing the overall burden on the average citizen. This shift of financial responsibility along with health care advancements supposedly will yield a $2500 credit to the average American. This credit is more like a shift than a credit.
- the concern that Obama needs to answer is how to contain the cost of a such a massive system. While it seems altruistically ideal, how to manage the on going costs of such a program should be weighed by the voter.
It is very important for the voter to review the facts on the candidates health plan.