Monday, May 14, 2007

Universally Speaking: A Big Fizzle

On the one hand, I really like the idea that states are trying out different iterations of "universal health care" [ed: a major misnomer, BTW; what they mean is "universal health insurance"]. Constitutionally, it's the only legal way to do this, and it has the benefit of being a smart method, too.
Why's that?
Well, if one state tries a given program, and it's a loser, then only the folks in that state are substantially affected. If one such program turns up a winner, then other states can adapt it to their own population. Kind of a win-win.
Thus far, unfortunately, we haven't seen a successful model, but at least the states are still giving it the old college try. Among the latest is Illinois' plan, which was predicated on a massive tax hike (a $7.6 billion "gross receipts tax" on Prairie State businesses) that was supposed to fund the new program, such as it was.
To get an idea of just how badly this whole campaign went down, one need only consider that the state's House of Representatives (an overwhelmingly Democatic body) buried it with a unanimous (107-0) "no" vote. Yikes!
What went so wrong? Well, consider this little snippet from the WSJ: "Instead of raising individual taxes, he aimed at business and even built in an exemption for smaller firms."
Do you see the problem here?
Of course: businesses (large, small or in-between) don't pay taxes. So the tax hike would have led to major costs being borne by the actual taxpayers, aka consumers. Notice that the article doesn't even really explain the nature of Governor Blagojevich's health care program; it focuses solely on the funding of it. Kinda tells us all we need to know.
What was that about a free lunch?


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