Ron Pollack
Executive Director

Ron Pollack

Ron Pollack is the founding executive director of Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers.

Time to Bear the Burden

The proposal developed by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, which would add a modest surtax for the wealthiest taxpayers, is part of a sensible approach to ensuring that health care reform is deficit-neutral during the next ten years. Since this group enjoyed a significant tax reduction windfall during the last decade -- and since this windfall played a big role in burgeoning federal deficits -- it makes sense that this group bears some burden as part of the effort to secure America's long-term economic future through health-care reform.

The proposed tax surcharge on wealthy taxpayers is very similar in intent, if not in form, from the original budget proposal developed by the Obama administration. The President's proposal would have reduced the value of tax deductions for the wealthy -- a proposal that also makes eminent sense. Given the opposition to that proposal from some quarters, Rangel's (D-N.Y.) approach offers a sensible alternative.

Of course, the modest surtax is not the only way health coverage improvements and stability are achieved under the House bill. The bill also creates significant efficiencies in our health-care system and those efficiencies will help to decelerate health-care costs as well as to ensure that virtually everyone has access to high-quality, affordable health care. As such, the House financing package offers an excellent starting point for the ultimate resolution of how health-care reform should be financed.

By Ron Pollack  |  July 13, 2009; 10:58 AM ET  | Category:  Taxes Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The idea of tax reduction as windfall presumes that personal wealth is a national resource to be allocated "fairly" among all Americans (and even some non-Americans, apparently). A windfall is a benefit that one receives through no effort of one's own, but lottery winners aside that isn't where personal wealth comes from. Somebody created something out of nothing through luck to some degree, but mostly through skill, personal deprivation and perseverance. Those who presume on the wealth of others because of some puerile fantasy that they were ill-gotten through oppression or some other crime have gallen into the most damaging of sins: coveting.

Posted by: Dayton-Man | July 20, 2009 12:52 PM
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It never ceases to amaze me how the republican leadership and their media reps, continue to ignore what is clearly a fact of the last 8 years of the Bush era - the top 1% benefited greatly from an irresponsible $1.8 trillion tax break. For the sake of the union, it is time to make the necessary adjustments in health care through a modest tax increase of the wealthy.

There should be NO American whose finances are devestated by the medical cost of an illness of a child or adult family member, yet this is happenning daily primarily because of the profit motive that exist in the healthcare system in this country. This could be remedied by the baseline proposal that President Obama is seeking in the industry, including a government sponsored healthcare plan.

Let's stop playing politics with this issue, and past healthcare reform for the good of the nation.

Posted by: rhmn | July 20, 2009 11:37 AM
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