I made a fairly large error when I wrote my previous article on the health care "plan" that Bush will announce during the State of the Union Address later today. When I did my back-of-the-envelope calculations of the tax breaks that different people would receive under the plan, I missed an important consideration. When I initially read the press release, I thought that everyone would get the $15,000 income deduction. I wasn't reading carefully enough.
In reality, only those who have health insurance will get any sort of tax break. This means that unless the uninsured poor can scrape together enough money to come up with health insurance - and the tax break will cover less than half of the White House's optimistic estimate of that cost - they will get absolutely nothing. The tax breaks, under this so-called plan, will go only to those who can afford to buy health care coverage.
If "health insurance" is defined loosely enough, this could create a fairly major loophole. In the highly unlikely event that this plan goes anywhere, I foresee a sudden growth in the number of "insurance companies" offering cheap "health insurance" plans that provide minimal coverage and have massively high deductibles. This might technically decrease the number of uninsured, but it will probably result in an increase in the number of underinsured.
Unsurprisingly, Bush is proposing an ideologically-based approach to a problem that needs a reality-based solution.