Kathy-Ellen Kups
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Kathy-Ellen Kups

Kathy-Ellen Kups is the breast cancer blogger for Everydayhealth.com.

Lets Tax Everyone Instead

I think everyone should be taxed to pay for health care. Each time my husband or I have had health insurance provided by an employer, a co-pay was deducted from our salary. These co-pays average over $500 a month. That is almost 10 percent right off the top! Each employee was charged the same co-pay, so this would mean almost 25 percent of an entry-level salary of $25,000 went to health care. A 1-2 percent tax would be far more affordable, more fair and quite practical. Increase that to a 3-5 percent tax for the wealthiest making over $250,000, and health care could be covered.

I am not a proponent of higher taxes. However, I am pragmatic and know that taxes are essential to pay for infrastructure, defense and other important services that contribute to the progress of this nation. It is my conviction that health care is as significant as these and warrants the same status. It is reasonable then that taxpayer money should be used to cover the cost of providing health care to all Americans.

Americans pay slightly lower taxes than nations such as Canada, France and Australia that have universal health care. People in these nations however enjoy a longer life expectancy. It seems that Americans are paying for a lower tax rate with their lives. If a slight increase in taxes can contribute to a healthier longer living nation, then it's worth it.

By Kathy-Ellen Kups  |  July 14, 2009; 10:58 PM ET  | Category:  Taxes Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Assuming extra taxes are required for health-care reform to be budget neutral - which the proposals to date are not - I think all taxpayers should contribute on a pro rata/ percentage basis. Everyone treated equally and have a vested interest.
Don't know if all 47mm should be the target for coverage since 16mm make 50k/yr or more and elect not to have health insurance plus another 10mm are not USA citizens!!

Posted by: dunmarsh | July 26, 2009 3:40 PM
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"If you take lives lost to crime out of the equation, the United States ranking improves as we move from to the bottom to the top of the list in terms of longevity."

Does taking crime out improve our infant mortality? birth weight? life expectency after 60?

Look, there are 16 basic bottom line public health statistics and we are at or near the bottom in each. Do you have separate explanations for each?

How do you "take out" obesity from these statistics? Also the Australians are about as obese as we are and they have better outcomes than we do and they pay about half as much as we do.

At some point Friar Occam has to step in and point out that all the other countries have some form of government run health care system.

Posted by: lensch | July 20, 2009 4:57 PM
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Kathy,

I have been hearing your statement below in a lot of arguments in the health care reform debate. You wrote:

"People in these nations however enjoy a longer life expectancy. It seems that Americans are paying for a lower tax rate with their lives. If a slight increase in taxes can contribute to a healthier longer living nation, then it's worth it."

These conclusions are completely out of context and I'm not sure why we are not hearing more from our experts to clean this up. Here are two things to think about the next time you hear that the US is among the bottom when it comes to life expectancy:

(1) If you take lives lost to crime out of the equation, the United States ranking improves as we move from to the bottom to the top of the list in terms of longevity.

(2) The United States ranks among the bottom when it comes to obesity and overweight. This is cultural. If we could find a way to take lives lost and health care costs associated with obesity out of the equation, once again, the United States goes right to the top of the list.

Having said this, I fully agree with you that the right tax strategies can go a long way to funding health care solutions. Unfortunately, whenever we raise taxes, the money raised doesn't seem to go to where it was intended. Sin taxes for smoking and drinking should go to improve health care and, more specifically, to deal with alchol, obesity and smoking. Taxes on highways should go to build infrastructure. Taxes on guns & ammunition should go to fight crime.

Posted by: brian45 | July 20, 2009 10:31 AM
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Hi Kathy - Ellen:

"Americans pay slightly lower taxes than nations such as Canada, France and Australia that have universal health care."

You did not mention that they don't pay any insurance premiums to private insurers. When you add up all the health care spending, we spend twice as much per person as these countries (and every other industrialized country).

Posted by: lensch | July 15, 2009 2:35 PM
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