This is getting annoying. Once again, the White House is floating
the notion (on page A1, no less) that its soon-to-be-proposed tax deductions for health expenses are somehow "designed to help the uninsured." They are not. Making progress on the 45 million* uninsured people in this country will cost about $80-100 billion per year
. There's no getting around that number. Bush will not propose anything of the sort.
Tax deductions will do little to help those who currently pay no federal income taxes—or are in the 10 or 15 percent bracket—which includes the majority of the uninsured. Tax deductions will largely help those making over $50,000 who currently can afford insurance but just don't value it enough to get it. If the president's tax deductions look anything like what he proposed on the campaign trail, then, according to CBPP, they will actually increase
the number of uninsured by 350,000 while costing tens of billions of dollars. That's all.
(*Well, it's 45 million now
; but according to a new report
on the GOP's budget reconciliation bill, a new round of Medicaid cuts will ensure that 3 to 5 million lucky recipients will lose their coverage.)