Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Linking the Components of Health Care "Reform"

According to M.I.T. economist Jon Gruber, the Senate's tax on cadillac health plans is good policy because it

would reduce the incentives for employers to provide excessively generous insurance, leading to more cost-conscious use of health care and, ultimately, lower spending.
Gruber is right, and virtually every economist agrees. The ideal reform would combine increased taxation of employer-provided health insurance with offsetting reductions in personal or corporate income taxes.  Both changes would reduce distortions in the tax system and allow government to raise any given amount of tax revenue with a smaller negative impact on the economy.

But that does not mean government should expand spending, on health insurance or anything else. That is a logically separate question.

15 comments:

MICHAEL KITCHENS said...

You say "The ideal reform would combine increased taxation of employer-provided health insurance with offsetting reductions in personal or corporate income taxes."

A few questions are raised by this statement:

I'd be curious to know how replacing robbery of one kind with robbery of another kind is "ideal?"

I'd like to know how taking by FORCE money from private companies, who VOLUNTARY compensate employees is "ideal?"

I'd like to know how any government intervention in health care would be "ideal?"

For a libertarian, you seem to have a great deal of faith in government fixes and unusually kind things to say about taxes of any kind, and as an economists, you seem to have an usual concern that private companies and private individuals would spend their money less wisely than the State.

I hope you will address these questions soon.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Miron,

As Kevin Grier (Angus) pointed out, Gruber made the claim that any money people get to keep after taxes is just a temporary tax break. Yes Gruber's words were that silly.

He has indeed joined the dark side.

Mary said...

Hi,

This is the assistant editor for Hospital.com which is a medical publication offering hospital news, information and reviews. We also cover a wide variety of medical topics, some of these articles being relevant to Health Care reform as you will see from the homepage of our site. We are in the process of updating our health care news section with dozens of articles on the reform and other relevant issues. If possible I would like Hospital.com to be included within your blog roll, offering our information as a resource to your readers and essentially building a relationship between our sites. Please let me know if this addition can be made, Thanks!

Please email me back with your URL in subject line to take a step ahead and to avoid spam.

Thank you
Mary Miller,
may.hospital.com@gmail.com

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