Friday, January 15, 2010

An Equal Protection Argument If There Ever Was One

Philip Klein points out a real problem.
In their latest effort to pass a health care bill by any means necessary, Democrats have struck a "tentative deal" with their big labor allies to exempt union benefits from a tax on high value health care plans, CongressDaily reports.

The idea itself is nothing new. Back in June, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus floated the idea of shielding union benefits from the new tax, but it was set aside. In September, President Obama declined to take a clear position on this so-called "carve out." But now that the excise tax has become a sticking point in negotiations between the House and Senate -- and one that threatens to cost Democrats union support for the bill -- the exemption idea is evidently back in play.

If this policy is adopted, it would mean that there could be two Americans receiving the exact same benefits, but one American may be taxed and one wouldn't, and the only difference would be one of them being a member of a union. This is unseemly and unfair, even by the standards of Obamacare. It has nothing to do with policy-making. It's simply an outright bribe to a constituency that has contributed handily to Democratic campaigns.
I don't like the health care plan, I think it is a solution in search of a different problem than we have in this country. But if Congress is to pass a plan, the plan needs to impact every American in the same way.

The problem with this idea is that is creates classes of citizens based on nothing other than the group underwriting their health care plan. Creating classes is fine, if Congress wants to tax "Cadillac health plans" they probably have the power to do so, but they can't tax one group of Cadillac plans different from another, identical, set of plans.

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