In today's New York Times, columnist David Brooks says health benefits should be taxed because otherwise, patients get a free ride and don't appreciate the "consequences of [our] decisions." This is so outrageous I could scream!
We have health insurance through a small plan that is appended to the state employee plan, an innovation designed by our wonderful state Comptroller, Nancy Wyman. It costs $996 per month. Yes, it has the lowest deductibles and copays that are offered. We choose that because higher deductibles and copays would actually cost more than the difference in the health insurance premium between our plan and the less generous option.
But don't think for a second that I don't appreciate the consequences. I can't hire another employee because I can't afford to offer them this expensive health insurance. When I go out of network, I pay a ridiculous amount out of pocket because my insurer thinks what's usual and customary is about half of what my doctor charges. Even my monthly drug copays and the cost of things that are not covered, like probiotics, remind me of the consequences of my decisions.
I choose to get the best health care I can find. That keeps me working and productive. Would David Brooks prefer it if I went on disability, lost my health insurance, spent my savings down in a couple of years, and then filed for bankruptcy when my bills mount up? Does he think that would be a better outcome? Jennifer