Universal health-care coverage!
I cant believe anyone, even a Democrat, is even attempting to run on a platform of universal health care coverage and tax cut elimination. Are you kidding me?
NEW YORK - Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt (news - web sites), determined to break out of the pack of White House hopefuls, on Wednesday presented a stark choice for voters if nominated by his party: a continuation of President Bush (news - web sites)'s tax cuts or his plan to give nearly all Americans access to health care.
The Missouri congressman would repeal all of Bush's tax cuts and use the money to help businesses insure their employees. Gephardt said his plan would provide health care to most of the 41 million uninsured Americans.
"This is the right way to stimulate the economy — not knee-jerk tax cuts that do nothing but pay off George Bush's wealthy contributors while killing economic growth,"
How does taking away tax cuts, and putting in the governments pockets stimulate the economy? Not only does is there less money for citizens to spend, which means less revenue for businesses, but it also means that their is a good chance that this will run-up the deficit, as well.
Gephardt said in a speech to the Service Employees International Union, which represents 1.5 million health care workers.
The former House Minority Leader called his proposal "Matt's plan" in honor of his 32-year-old son, who survived childhood cancer. He estimated the total cost at $214 billion in 2005, $231 billion in 2006 and $247 billion in 2007.
Nice expeditures. How will they help improve the lagging economy, again?
Under the Gephardt plan, companies that currently offer insurance would get a refundable tax credit worth 60 percent of their share of the costs, while companies without health benefits would get a credit for 60 percent of the total premium.
To pay for the plan, Gephardt said he would repeal all the tax cut that passed two years ago and any others that Bush signs into law. The 2001 law cut income tax rates, provided tax relief for married couples, increased the child credit and reduced the inheritance tax. Gephardt said he may reintroduce smaller provisions for tax relief for married couples, the child credit and the inheritance portion after his plan became law.
Repealing the income tax cut, the cut on taxes on married couples, the child credit, and the cut on the inhertitance tax is an absolute joke. But, what is even funnier is that he thinks that it will help improve the economy. There is no way in hell that raising personal income taxes improves any free-market economy.
Republicans and business groups criticized the plan as too expensive and said voters will not support government-funded health care. Former Rep. Vin Weber, R-Minn., called it "a disastrous thing for him politically."
"It's a great irony," Weber said. "All this has proven in the past is to be a real loser for Democrats."
I believe the Dems, specifically Clinton, tried the same thing back in '94, and look how that turned out. It is a disasterous platform for Gephardt to run on in these tumultous times.
Dan Danner, senior vice president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said some small businesses can't afford to provide health care.
"Imposing one of the largest tax hikes in American history, which is exactly what Dick Gephardt proposed today, certainly won't help small-business owners find more affordable health insurance," he said.
Gephardt says his plan is different from the Clinton-era proposals because most Americans would still be insured through their employer plans, not the government. And it would give a tax break to businesses that currently provide coverage as well as supporting those that don't.
"I believe to make a win for this campaign, we have to lay out a clear choice for the American people — do you want a continuation of the failed Bush tax cuts and economic plan or do you want to move to give universal health care for everybody in the country and stimulate the economy better than is being run today?" he said.
Under Gephardt's plan, workers still would have to pay their portion of premiums to help cover health care costs, but companies that increased employee contributions would not qualify for the tax credit. Gephardt would subsidize up to a quarter of the employee contribution for workers below or near the poverty line.
Currently, employers can get tax deductions that cover about 30 percent of their health care costs. Gephardt said by doubling the government's share of the cost, companies would have more money to invest and could increase wages, providing a jump-start to the economy.
The tax credit would cover health care costs of part-time employees, retirees and the self-employed. It also would refund 60 percent of health care costs paid by state and local governments.
Gephardt also wants to subsidize two-thirds of the cost of COBRA health insurance for unemployed workers and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program for uninsured low income children to their parents. And he wants to allow people aged 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare coverage.
In an interview with reporters after the speech, Gephardt conceded that his plan would not eliminate budget deficits that have grown in recent years.
"The goal is to get the economy to grow, the goal is not just to balance the budget," he said. "Look, if the economy is working well, the budget will be in balance."
Gephardt called access to health care the "moral issue of our time" and challenged Bush and his Democratic rivals to come up with their own plans. Gephardt is the first to detail his proposal; others in the nine-way Democratic primary race plan to unveil their ideas in coming weeks.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, another presidential candidate who has called for a repeal of the tax cuts to pay for health care, said Gephardt's plan would never survive in Congress. "It's much too expensive and much too complicated," said Dean, a physician who said his proposal will cost less than half.