Adam Searing wants to deny people greater choices and more affordability. He wants to continue the favorable tax treatment of employer-based insurance, which essentially locks people into getting insurance through their employer. But if you lose your job, you also lose your insurance and the tax benefit that comes with it. Does Adam care? It’s difficult to say. But he seems more interested in preserving the status quo, perhaps because he believes that this is the track that will get us to socialized medicine… And he’s right about that.
But let me tell you what he’s wrong (i.e. FALSE) about:
First, giving refundible tax credits is neither "radical" nor "dangerous". Tax credits allow people like waitresses, young people, the unemployed and the underemployed to get health insurance as easily (read: affordably, equitably) as someone who gets their insurance through work. It’s that simple. When I was an adjunct professor teaching philosophy and making $20K a year, I had to buy health insurance on the individual market. And yet someone making $45K at a swanky office got subsidized to buy his health insurance by as much as $2000 a year. That’s fundamentally unfair. But you don’t have simply to believe me, ask the professors over at Duke University about this perverse, inequitable system.
Second, Mr. Searing tries to argue that the way one would pay for this system is to take the tax benefit away from employer-based insurance. This is simply FALSE. Notice how people in the background of his video keep laughing? It’s because the claims he makes are laughable. All a refundable tax credit does is give you the same benefit whether you buy your healthcare on the individual market or at work–it doesn’t matter which. People who would get their healthcare through work would enjoy the same benefit as they did before. So Searing is being, well, dishonest to claim otherwise. Perhaps it’s desperation. Because tax credits would go a long way to reforming the healthcare market that he and his counterparts on the left have been busily trying to tear down, distort and ruin.
Finally, that means his ‘150 million people would be in danger of losing their health benefits’ is just wrong. Mr. Searing would like for wealthier, gainfully employed people to continue to be subsidized while poorer, underemployed must fend for themselves? This suggests to me that he does not care so much about those people – including the uninsured and unemployed – who need affordable coverage, which tax subsidies would rescue. One should be very suspicious of his motives, then, as he generally claims to want to help cover the uninsured, which tax credits would most assuredly do. In fact, one would be crazy not to take $2500 for health insurance and not spend it! Carrots are preferable to Searing’s sticks.
But in short, he offers NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that people with pre-existing conditions would be harmed by this. Indeed, if you have such a condition and lose your job, your healthcare is currently not portable. Under a system in which more people (not all, perhaps) get their insurance on the (more competive and thus less expensive) individual market, those people would have less chance of losing their coverage (expensive COBRA notwithstanding) no matter what happens with their job. And they’d get tax help to boot.
Adam Searing may have his heart in the right place on healthcare. But his head is totally in the wrong place. His hostility to tax credits reveals a genuine fear that his project to socialized medicine will fail if government stops privileging people with jobs. But if he really wants to help people, he’ll join groups on the left who actually see the value in such a simple and elegant proposal.