Sunday, July 2, 2017

Breach of Contract

Conservatives and libertarians constantly rail about our overreaching Federal government. The founders gave the Federal government strict limits and granted the States wide ranging powers. James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, “It is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects.” In order to place checks and balances on the Federal government, three distinct branches were created, judicial, legislative, and executive. The Founders did not intend for the Federal government to expand and assume the responsibility to dictate how its’ citizens live their lives. The Federal government has overstepped its authority and usurped the freedoms of its citizens to their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by attempting to control decisions better left to those who are most affected by them. Healthcare is not the responsibility of the Federal government. Those who cannot provide for themselves due to disability or economic disparity can fall under the umbrella of a societal safety net. Those who can provide for themselves should be allowed to do so.

After a democrat Congress and President Obama enacted the boondoggle known as the Affordable Care Act, many republicans ran vowing to dismantle Obamacare and won majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Now they have a chance to finally repeal this, regardless that Chief Justice John Roberts authored the opinion to save it, illegal takeover of 1/6th of our economy and allow government to dictate what we must have in health insurance coverage at, what has become, an unreasonable cost. Obamacare should be repealed and the Federal government should get out of the way.

Employer provided health insurance became a staple of workers benefits during WWII. Employer provided health insurance plans became the norm due to wage controls imposed by the federal government during WWII. There were increasing demands for goods and there was a limited pool of available workers. Federally imposed wage and price controls prohibited employers from raising wages. The War Labor Board declared that sick leave and health insurance, would not count as wages for the purpose of wage controls. Employers responded with offers to provide health care coverage. Over the years, this staple of employee benefits has escalated the cost of health care unreasonably.

The following is a plan to subject the health insurance industry to a free market system and minimize the government’s role in providing health care.

• Increase the amount allowed to be placed into a Health Savings Account to $15,000 per year for families, $8,500 for single.

• Designate the contribution made by the employer to any employer provided health care plan as taxable income. (Democrats have been looking for ways to do this for years.)

• Allow the option for employees to “opt out” of their employer provided health insurance and receive 75% of the employer contribution to health insurance as taxable income. (Those who choose so, can designate this as salary only and will not be required to purchase health insurance, but will also be responsible to make payment to any health care provider if services are required.)

• Allow the option to designate, up to the maximum allowed, of that income to their HSA as non-taxable.

• Allow health insurance to be purchased across state lines, granting consumers the privilege to “shop for the best price and coverage appropriate to their needs and forcing health insurance providers to compete in the marketplace as other insurance (auto, life, property) companies do.

• Remove Medicare and Medicaid from the control of the Federal government, (reduce taxpayer contributions to FICA accordingly) and transfer authority to individual states to manage both programs and have the authority to levy taxes to appropriately fund them. (Most states already provide an alternate plan to augment those programs, ie; Wisconsin has Badger Care.)

I believe that this system would move government out of the way and allow the free market system to determine the appropriate cost for health care. This will also eliminate the escalating premiums that employers have been forced to accept to provide this benefit to employees. This will also allow those who do not want to purchase health care the choice to increase their income that will, in turn, put more of that income into the economy and add to the tax base. Averaging the employer contribution to each full time employee’s family health insurance premium at $1,000 monthly and assuming there are 55,000,000 persons in the US receiving that benefit, an additional $11,000,000,000 would be freed for those businesses to reinvest in their companies, enabling them to expand their businesses and create additional employment opportunities to reinvigorate the economy.

The constitution is a written contract with the citizens of the United States. We did not sign up for this overreaching Federal government that is bloated beyond anything the Founders envisioned. $20 trillion in debt is unacceptable. It is time to downsize the Federal government and let us citizens make our own decisions. Getting out of the way of our health decisions is just a start.