MY VIEW: Eugene Steuerle April 2012

In the latest post in his ongoing "The Government We Deserve" series, CRFB board member Eugene Steuerle stated that regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, we would still have a problem with health care costs and a "math-less debate" on the issue.

Below is an excerpt from the post:

The Affordable Care Act attempted to cover new costs without adding significantly to tax burdens. The individual mandate was one way it tried to force us to pay, at least for ourselves. The law also included an employer mandate designed to prevent employers from dropping employee health insurance (since many employees’ tax subsidies are worth far less than the new exchange subsidies that cover insurance costs above 10 percent of family income). Congress also tried to box in states to contribute as much or more than they already do to Medicaid, another part of the constitutional debate.

None of those efforts, however, tackle the original sin driving health costs. Whether dealing with the old or the young, the government’s health programs are open-ended. Both we as customers of health care and our doctors, drug companies, and other providers are empowered to spend more on our care and, as a result, increase taxes on others or impose costs on others within our insurance plans. Both political parties are afraid to take this power away from us or health providers. Only very tentatively has Congress tried to empower boards to constrain costs, or to convert Medicare to more of a premium support or voucher system—and only with an outcry from one political party whenever the other is the first to suggest that anyone anywhere might get less. The political contradictions abound: Democrats want premium support for the young and oppose it for the old; Republicans want premium support for the old and oppose it for the young.

Click here to read the full post.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.