Sen. Barack Obama has announced his intent to reform American health care. Obama promises that his plan would create insurance for the estimated 45 million Americans who currently go without.
In Iowa, Obama claimed that his plan would save the average customer about $2,500 a year. "My plan begins by covering every American. If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums will be less," he said.
Obama's plan also calls for the creation of a National Health Insurance Exchange to monitor private sector companies that provide the coverage. When pressed about the cost of such a proposal, Obama was vague but admitted that it would be "high." "To help pay for this," he responded, "we will ask all but the smallest businesses who don't make a meaningful contribution to the health coverage of their workers to do so to support this plan. And we also will repeal the temporary Bush tax cut...," including, apparently, its pro-family features.
Senator Obama must know that the Democrats' budget, for which he voted, already designates the revenue from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts to other projects. His proposed funding stream for what could be a $1.3 trillion program has plenty of other thirsty animals waiting at the trough. Moreover, he does not make clear what would happen to the existing tax scheme that favors employers and disfavors family ownership of health insurance. What should the U.S. health system look like? We need a health care system that protects, encourages prudence, ensures portability, and promotes family ownership, not another government program.