Getting to universal health care (wonky)

Much sturm und drang has attached to Elizabeth Warren's reticence about the financing of a so-called Medicare for All program. So I'll tell you up front that the reason is the optical problem of raising taxes. She has said that total expenditures on health care for middle class people will be less, which is likely true or certainly can be. But some of what people are paying now they aren't even aware that they are paying. This takes the form of employer-provided health care, and that portion of state and federal tax revenues that goes to Medicaid and various subsidies for the health care system. The latter wouldn't really be affected, so let's talk for a moment about employment-based insurance.This became a thing during WWII when there were wage and price controls, and at the same time for obvious reasons a labor shortage. So in order to attract employees without raising wages, employers offered health insurance, which didn't count against the wage controls. After the war this continued to be popular because the insurance wasn't subject to income tax, so it was a way of increasing compensation at the expense of the federal government. It also tended to tie employees to their jobs, which employers like. Unions also like it because they can claim credit for winning the benefit.This is not a very smart, efficient or equitable way to provide health care. It leaves out people who work for small businesses that can't offer insurance, people who are self-employed, and people who ret...
Source: Stayin' Alive - Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

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