Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Unitended consequences and health care reform

With all of the chaos and anger surrounding the health care debate, I find it helpful to occasionally stop screaming and take a look at just what it is we are getting ourselves into. While I realize the Senate Finance Committee version of health care legislation isn't out yet, some analysis has been done on parts of it. Of particular note, is analysis by groups that don't have a clear partisan motive to either trash or to herald the current proposals.

Just such an analysis is this one from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities [E.A]:

The Proposal’s Deep Flaws

The proposal has serious flaws, including the following:

Biasing Hiring and Firing Decisions Against Low-Income, Female, and Minority Workers

  • The proposal would make it considerably more expensive for employers who do not offer insurance to hire workers from lower-income families than workers from higher-income backgrounds to do the same job.
  • As a result, it would distort hiring decisions. Employers would have strong incentives to tilt hiring toward people who have a spouse with a good income (or have health coverage through a family member), teenagers whose parents make a decent living, and people without children (since the eligibility limit for the subsidies in the new health insurance exchanges will increase with family size). Low-income women with children in one-earner families would be particularly disadvantaged.

    While language could be included to try to ban such discriminatory effects, it would be virtually impossible to enforce effectively.
The analysis singles out low-income women with children, but another group that could easily fall into this category would be single income families with more than the average number of children. (I know. It's all about me.) While my family and I live quite comfortably, I wouldn't be at all shocked to see that we fell into some category of poverty on a federal scale due the fact that eight of us live off of just my income since my wife works in our home.

For someone who believes like I do that the traditional family serves as the foundation for American stability and prosperity, it is disheartening to see another step toward the destruction of one of our most critical institutions. The American Family has already sacrificed too much in pursuit of the empty materialism that characterizes so much of modern culture.

Also, this cautionary note should remind everyone that just because politicians promise one thing when laws are being crafted, events have a way of departing from the script. This doesn't necessarily mean that President Obama and others are lying about their intentions. No matter how good one's intentions, they are no match for unintended consequences.


Your Lovely Wife said...

You'll be happy to know that the Feds Poverty guideline for a family of 8 is $37,010... so we're not living below the poverty level. Yet. Another baby might push us over the edge though. :)

We do qualify for free/reduced school lunches. But since that free lunch comes with several hours of "socialization" I think we'll pass.

Dad29 said...


For a bazillion years or so, the 'per-child' standard deduction was $600.00.

IIRC, that number was set in 1950 or so and perdured until the mid-1980's.

And you saw what happened to family-size during that period, too.

Reagan, then Bush2, both saw the reality and acted.