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Taxes, Health Care and S-CHIP Funding

Posted on | December 19, 2007 | No Comments

How much does it cost to run a society?

By Mike Magee

If you were following the news this fall, you saw an intense battle over future of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-CHIP for short. At the center of the debate was whether to continue and possibly expand this program — which provides health insurance coverage for low income children whose families are poor, but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. The S-CHIP debate this fall gives us a sneak preview of what’s to come as the 2008 presidential election begins to heat up.

Just look at all the issues that came up during the S-CHIP debate and how they tie into the larger issue of what to do about our health care system: I count no fewer than ten issues that came up this fall and are sure to come up again, ranging from tax policy and state vs. national control to universal insurance coverage and immigration.
 
How we choose to organize, govern and structure our health care system is going to be at the top of the list of national discussion items next year. And it looks like we are headed for a massive case of “you can pay me now or you can pay me later.”

Compared to other developed countries, U.S. tax revenues as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product rank 17th in the world, at 28% of GDP. But, as everyone is starting to realize, the true costs of health system confusion and our failure to get ahead of aging-induced disease curves is the creation of a tax burden that could someday exceed Sweden’s – which is currently #1 in the world. Swedes are taxed at a rate of 50.1% of GDP. But at least they know what they’re paying for.

To see the ten issues brought up by the S-CHIP debate, watch this week’s video (embedded with this blog post) or read the full transcript, below. And please share your thoughts about this issue by leaving a comment.
 

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