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Letter to the Editor: Employer-paid health care plans give clients tax breaks

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Conservative writers frequently mention how appalled they are that the government takes taxes from one group of people and gives it to another. That phrase has been used recently when talking about people on Medicaid, or talking about health care as a privilege rather than a right.

There is a different way of looking at the health care mess our government is trying to sort out. Vast numbers of people who are lucky enough to have employer-paid health insurance get thousands of dollars each year tax-free. They are essentially taking money from the government, just like the people on Medicaid and other social welfare programs.

Health insurance costs about $1,000 per month these days, so that’s $12,000 per year the people on employer-paid health plans get tax-free per year. The employers don’t pay taxes on it either because it is deducted from income as a business expense.

People with generous employer-paid health plans don’t have to worry about using the doctor. They go to the doctor for trivial things knowing that all will be paid for. This leads to waste and misuse of the health care system. Doctors order lots of tests knowing they will be paid. All this is a drain on health care system resources and runs up costs.

The people without employer-paid health plans, usually those with the lowest wages, are taxed on every cent of income. They are the people who have the least ability to pay their medical bills, yet their employers don’t offer them health insurance.

If the employer-paid health plans were treated as income, the government would have more money to take care of the poor and disabled, there would be less government debt, and we wouldn’t have this unfair system which unjustly favors one group of people.

JUDITH MESKO

Rocky Mount

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