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You Pay for Warren Buffett’s Medicare
How to reform pre-Obamacare health care.

Billionaire Warren Buffett

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Mona Charen

The president is barnstorming around the nation, hoping to enrage voters at the injustice that the wealthy pay less in taxes than the middle class. “Now that’s wrong,” Mr. Obama objected. “That’s not fair.”

It also isn’t true. According to the National Taxpayers Union, in 2009, the top 1 percent of earners paid 36.7 percent of income taxes. The top 5 percent paid 58.6 percent. And the top 10 percent paid more than 70 percent. Social Security and Medicare taxes fall more evenly on all income groups (except the poor), but are lower. Further, Mr. Obama had the opportunity to repeal the Bush tax cuts he claims to find so odious when his party controlled both houses of Congress, but he chose to extend them instead.

This is political demagoguery of a high order, attempting to achieve reelection by whipping up class envy and finding “kulaks” to scapegoat.

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While it isn’t true that the rich are not paying their fair share, it is true that you are subsidizing Warren Buffett’s Medicare. This is but one of the many injustices and inefficiencies of our current health-care system that will only worsen if Obamacare is not repealed or overturned by the Supreme Court.

The one and only thing that Democrats and Republicans agree on regarding health care in the United States is that costs are too high and rising at an unsustainable rate (though Democrats engage in denial on the subject of Medicare’s solvency). Yet with the very next breath, Democrats nearly always argue that the pre-Obamacare health system was a “free market” system that failed.

On the contrary, the pre-Obamacare health system was already badly distorted by government. The open-ended Medicare entitlement, which pays for every medical expense incurred by the elderly without regard to income, is an invitation to overuse. Consumers have no incentive to shop for value, and thus have no idea what the care they receive costs. Medicaid is even worse.

Those with employer-provided insurance (about 80 percent of the population) likewise have no incentive to economize on health-care consumption or shop for value, since someone else pays the bills.



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