- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 22, 2001

In an ideal world, taxes would be low enough that almost everyone could afford to pay for their own health care coverage. In the real world, however, the tax burden is so high that a great many people find themselves unable to pay the tax man and provide for their familys health care needs. The Democratic response has been not less taxes, or some means of reducing the burden of government, but rather more taxes to pay for yet more government.
The Bush administration has a different prescription: It wants to rework the tax code so that people have more of their own money to spend for health care and insurance. The gist of the plan is a health insurance tax credit that would allow taxpayers to deduct a significant portion of their annual health insurance costs from their federal taxes. The plan, which was submitted along with the administrations first budget, would go into effect next year and would provide a tax credit of $1,000 for individuals earning up to $15,000 annually (families with incomes up to $30,000 would be eligible for a tax credit of $2,000). Similar, albeit smaller, tax credits would be available for individuals and families with incomes up to $30,000 and $60,000 respectively.
The administrations goal is to help younger workers and those earning modest salaries to afford insurance that is either currently unaffordable, inadequate, or which is not offered by the small businesses such people often work for.
Democrats have criticized the projected $71.5 billion "cost" (in terms of lost tax revenue) of the Bush proposal. But thats the typical response of a party that views taxpayer money as the governments property, to do with as it sees fit. The administration takes the opposite view: That taxpayer money belongs to the taxpayer primarily, and should be used to provide for the taxpayers needs primarily. Governments needs take a back seat.
According to the administration, the proposed health insurance tax credit would help some six million currently uninsured or underinsured Americans obtain health insurance. And it would be accomplished without a new federal entitlement, and the inevitable, expensive bureaucracy that would entail. The administrations proposal cuts out the government middle-man and simply makes health care more accessible by making it more affordable, using the taxpayers own resources.
That sounds like a plan worth supporting.

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