The Corner

Apology and Clarification

On Twitter, Cody Willard says that I incorrectly labeled him an Obamacare supporter in my piece today. If that’s true, I apologize. I made a careless assumption because I first came across his comment on the Daily Kos, and I shouldn’t have lumped him in with people whose views on the underlying bill he does not share.

That said, Willard is presenting the debate over the write-downs the same way many Obamacare supporters are: as an issue we shouldn’t get worked up about because, after all, the provision in question merely cancels some gratuitous hand-outs for corporations, and that’s probably a good thing, right?

My answer remains: Probably not, when viewed in the context of the broader welfare system. According to this study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, it is cheaper for the government to subsidize a private plan than to pay for a retiree’s prescription drugs through Medicare Part D — even with the tax deduction factored in. At least some corporations are now likely to drop their retiree drug benefits and dump their retirees into the public system. So, when someone such as Igor Volsky asks why fiscal conservatives are not outraged by this bit of corporate welfare, the simplest answer is that this bit of corporate welfare actually saves taxpayers’ money.

Nevertheless, I was wrong to mistakenly give the impression that Cody supported the Democrats’ health-care bill. If he says he did not, I take him at his word.


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