Who will pay for healthcare reform?

by Brian Johnson on June 3, 2009

TaxesJanine Sahadi did a great job over at CNNMoney.com describing the current ideas being looked into by lawmakers to help the government pay for health care reform. From her synopsis, it looks as though the government is hoping to tax revenues that have, up until now,  gone untaxed. So far, lawmakers have suggested taxing, among other things, employer contributions to health care, Medicare benefits for state and local government employees, and drinks with high fructose content.

We are fundamentally aligned with the belief that everyone ought to get health care regardless of their condition as we see this as a basic human right.  However, we find it a little disturbing that all of the ideas being bandied about by lawmakers involve either raising existing taxes or creating new taxes. We are willing to do our part, of course, but shouldn’t the government be just as willing?

When families need to pay for some new expense, they don’t just look for new sources of income, they also try to find ways to tighten the belt and cut back on expenses. Between 2000 and 2007, the federal government increased its budget from 1.8 Trillion dollars to 2.77. That’s $977 Billion.  We’ve purposefully used 2007, rather than a more current budget, because we want to avoid numbers that are hampered by government bailouts.  

We do not understand why it is not possible to roll back some of these expenditures to help pay for something which the country desperately needs.  It is time for lawmakers to start looking for ways to make significant cuts to the $970,000,000,000, in order to pay for a national health care plan.

Instead, it seems as though lawmakers only want health care if taxpayers are willing to bear the full expense of the program. However, the very idea of national health care suggests to us that the national government too ought to make some sacrifices to help get this program off the ground. It is time for the current administration to take a serious look at how this nation is spending its money. They need to do more than make small cuts that have no noticeable effect, and need to start thinking about how to find enough money to fund vast national programs.  Funding national healthcare has become a national responsibility, but that responsibility means more than simply passing the burden on to taxpayers.

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