The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Ron Paul's good health care idea won't ever survive

by Shelly Roche

Apparently, it doesn't take 1990 pages to write legislation that actually does something for US, instead of just expanding government and rewarding special interests!

H.R. 1495, the Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act of 2009 (12 pages long)

H.R. 1498, the Freedom from Unnecessary Litigation Act (2 pages long)

From the Tribune-Review, by Jack Markowitz:

Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas, whom nobody ever confused with a me-too Republican, has proposed a health care reform that deserves the name "reform."

It's almost certain not to get anywhere, though. Which might be a mercy. Americans might risk broken arms reaching for it too fast.

It's this. Whatever a family has to pay for the doctor, the hospital, the pills or the shots, it could deduct on their federal tax return.

Get that? A 100 percent tax credit on health care costs. Socialized medicine turned inside out, you might say.

Instead of the government taking care of us, we take care of ourselves. And by just that amount, lowering our tax bills.

The screams in Washington might be heard clear to Pittsburgh, where the congressman who marches to his own drummer grew up in suburban Munhall. Pangs of tax starvation would grip the Treasury. Rep. Paul, a retired physician, would treat that malady by putting Uncle Sam on a severe spending diet. In short, a snowball's chance.

Yet his proposed H.R. 1495, the Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act of 2009 is a useful exercise. It demonstrates how market forces might yet rope in the inflation that's stampeding toward socialism.

Recall how irritating it is at income tax time to find you can deduct medical expenses only over 7.5 percent of income? Paul would abolish that threshold. All medical costs, including for high-deductible insurance tied a Health Savings Account (HSA), would go toward a tax credit. And the credit could be refunded against payroll taxes, letting low-wage workers in on it.

Other freedom enhancements are written into Paul's legislative initiatives that news media ought to, but rarely give, a mention.

For instance, his Freedom from Unnecessary Litigation Act (H.R. 1498). The lawyers' lobby invariably swats down all efforts at tort reform. Paul would go around them with a tax credit for "negative outcomes insurance." The patient might buy it before surgery. Bad result, the policy pays off. The system as a whole would save untold billions in insurance liability costs for doctors and hospitals. Plus the vast waste of "defensive" medicine's excessive testing. And the loss of physician talent by early retirements in disgust.

Read the rest here.

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14 Comments:

  • At 11:25 AM, March 12, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't this bill a contradiction to what ron paul believe about the free market. regardless of whether passing such a bill will lower what we pay for medical care or coverage, isn't giving a tax credit essentially asking for the federal government to take care of a problem which exists in the free market?

     
  • At 11:30 AM, March 12, 2010 , Blogger Militant Libertarian said...

    Not if you consider that 53% of medical care is currently covered by government via Medicare, the VA, etc. That's hardly "free market."

     
  • At 11:39 AM, March 12, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    that's a seperate issue from what paul's bill relates to though. isn't it?
    btw, thanks for the quick reply.

     
  • At 11:46 AM, March 12, 2010 , Blogger Militant Libertarian said...

    Not really, but if you take Paul's overall stance on things, then anything that is a tax break (or removal of a tax) is a good thing anyway.

    Over his career, Dr. Paul has offered bills to remove taxes, abolish the IRS, eliminate personal income tax, and so forth. Most of the bills he introduces fall into the category of removing, crediting, or otherwise eliminating the tax burden. The rest are usually about removing or trimming various government programs and institutions. Which, in a way, also falls into the category of tax removal.

    What Paul was attempting to do with these bills, I think, is to remove the tax burden and level the playing field a little.

     
  • At 12:01 PM, March 12, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    i understand all of that. i'm just unclear how tax-funded medical care/insurance relates to a bill that deals mostly with tort reform. i'm sure there's some loose connection between the two, but i don't see how they're directly connected. could you explain that better?

    now, in regards to his bill, isn't offering a tax credit (not a deduction) simply a way of shifting the cost of medical care/insurance to tax payers? furthermore, i don't see how this would reduce lawsuits brought on as the result of pain and suffering - not that you suggested that, just that that was my understanding of paul's bill.

     
  • At 12:08 PM, March 12, 2010 , Blogger Militant Libertarian said...

    First, the bill is over six months old and I doubt it's still being considered. Regardless, it's been well-established that the number one direct contributor to health care costs in the U.S. is either Meidcare's cost fixing driving up prices for non-MC patients or the cost of malpractice insurance due to lititgation. Which one it is depends on who you ask, but both are huge contributors to our costs.

    Given that, the easier one to deal with is tort reform to remove the litigation and thus cut insurance rates. The fastest way to promote something in the private sector via government is with tax incentives.

    As I've pointed out, there are plenty of other conservative/libertarian bonuses to tax breaks too.

     
  • At 12:09 PM, March 12, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    i see your blog post deals not just with hr1498, but hr1495 as well. i'll have to look that one over. that said, my comments relate to specifically to 1498, in case there was any confusion.

     
  • At 12:19 PM, March 12, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "Given that, the easier one to deal with is tort reform to remove the litigation and thus cut insurance rates. The fastest way to promote something in the private sector via government is with tax incentives. "

    i don't know about that. i think a better way of handling tort reform. why not hold the accuser, or his/her legal representation accountable for legal fees and other losses which the accused might face as the result of a frivalous lawsuit? this would certainly cut down on the number of malpractice cases. don't you think?

     
  • At 12:20 PM, March 12, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    correction. that second sentence should read:
    "i think there are better ways of handling tort reform."

     
  • At 12:42 PM, March 12, 2010 , Blogger Militant Libertarian said...

    Yes, except for two things:

    1) Adding automatic reverse liability (which is usually done in civil cases via counter suits) has the psychological (thought probably not realistic) stigma of discouraging people from suit and thus "pressing their rights."

    2) Given #1, it's politically not popular and so not likely to be enacted.

    It could also be argued that this reverse liability would be a violation of the individual right to regress. I'm not saying it is, just that it's possible it could be. In that case, it would be unconstitutional.

    So the way I see it, realistically, Paul's approach was more likely to be passed through. Being more politically viable (and not a compromise to be so), I can see why he chose this path.

     
  • At 12:44 PM, March 12, 2010 , Blogger Militant Libertarian said...

    By the way, this blog has moved to http://www.MilitantLibertarian.org now. This old Blogger site is kept here for redundancy, but soon I'll be putting up a 503 redirect to the new location, which has all of the post archives from here.

    I moved the site not long after this post was put up, actually. :)

     
  • At 1:06 PM, March 12, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "1) Adding automatic reverse liability (which is usually done in civil cases via counter suits) has the psychological (thought probably not realistic) stigma of discouraging people from suit and thus "pressing their rights.""

    this (the reality of the situation, not your point) is so dumb. it's sad that we encourage people not to be more accountable for their actions. in this sense, i think paul is deviating from his principles of the free market, and he shouldn't have to do that.

    anyway, thanks for you responses. in case you were wondering, i saw your post on the opencongress website in response to hr1498, and that's how i ended up here:-)

     
  • At 1:08 PM, March 12, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    correction:
    "it's sad that we DON'T encourage people to be more accountable for their actions."

     
  • At 1:29 PM, March 12, 2010 , Blogger Militant Libertarian said...

    Ahh. Well, thanks for coming here. :)

     

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