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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Based on a recent survey of one (1) American swing voter, I've concluded that talking to parents, siblings, co-workers, and low-information friends about John McCain's plan to tax employer-based health care benefits is an extremely smart idea for Obama supporters. Joe Klein:

Today's issue: health insurance. John McCain wants to tax your employer-provided health care benefits. He wants to replace those benefits with an insufficient tax credit--$2500 for individuals and $5000 for families (the average cost per family for health insurance is $12000).
Kevin Drum looks at this issue with an eye towards inflation and concludes it's even worse than it looks:
...there's some fine print hidden where McCain hopes no one will see it: his tax credit increases each year only by the normal inflation rate. Your premiums are going to increase way faster — probably around 6-8% per year. That means your taxes are going to go up 6-8% per year too. The chart on the right, courtesy of CAP, shows the gory details: the tax credit doesn't keep up with the increase in tax payments. In other words, your taxes go up.

If you're in a somewhat higher tax bracket than the median, the news is even worse because your marginal federal tax rate is higher. If you live in a high-tax state like California, the news is even worse because your marginal state tax rate is higher. If you have a big family, the news is even worse because your premium will be more than $14,000 and the taxes you pay on it will therefore be higher. If your employer decides to ditch group healthcare entirely because there's no longer any tax advantage to it, then you're really screwed. And if that happens and you happen to have a chronic illness that no private insurer will touch — well, screwed hardly begins to describe it.

So that's McCain's healthcare plan: make it more expensive, make it riskier, and for some people, make it nonexistent.