Maybe we will never be able to stop health care mooching and scamming. But if Mitch McConnell really wanted to cut down on the unfair way millions of Americans are getting over and leaving their fellow Americans in the dust, they could get rid of one of the biggest breaks of all. That is the writeoff, which benefits wealthy elites the most, of employer-subsidized health insurance. That’s right, people who get employer-provided health plans get a $300 billion a year (more or less) tax break. In itself it’s not as big an annual benefit, or cost, as Medicare or Medicaid. But those who get Medicare, and many who get Medicaid (especially nursing home care) have paid taxes for decades before they receive any benefit. But the subsidy, or tax expenditure, that excludes health insurance from taxable income is immediate gratification. And this immediate gratification is greater the closer you get to being part of the privileged 1%. Who’s winning the class warfare? Is Mitch McConnell looking out for you as he scrounges for something he and Trump can call a victory? They seem to think anything they can pass and sign is a “win”–but maybe not for you.
By the way I do think there is just one good idea in what I’ve heard from McConnell: replacing the mandate with a “nudge” in which you don’t have to buy anything, but do have to wait several months to get re-enrolled if you can afford it but are pretending to yourself that you don’t need health insurance.