Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How Much Does Free Healthcare Cost?

Take a guess.

Add to that the fact that, if Wisconsin employees are anything like my Canadian, British, and other employees, they will still demand that employers provide health insurance -- once they find out that the promise of "everything covered" depends on you defining "everything" as "only on certain things using very conventional treatment, and only if you can find a doctor to do it at our fixed price, provided s/he can fit you in within the next year or so".

As I have said elsewhere, the fastest and best way to ensure universal coverage in this country would be to make insurance premiums tax-deductible -- for both businesses and individuals -- either directly, or through tax-deferral mechanisms on incomes like health savings accounts (HSAs).

Better yet, if you grouse about having to go to bat with and even sue your health insurance provider to get them to pay for things now, imagine what it'll be like when the same people who run such paragons of accuracy and customer service as the IRS and DMV are the ones you have to convince -- and how far your lawsuit against them is going to go.

But again, the point is not insurance coverage; it's using an emotional issue to allow governments to set up yet another program where they tax you today for benefits that they may or may not pay tomorrow, depending on how they feel about it, and which are subject to change at their moment's notice, especially if actually paying you back might cost them with another constituency.

Just like Social Security.

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