The Composition of China's Exports
Jackie Calmes of the WSJ on the Bush Budget

Why Not Subsidize Health Care Through the Tax Code?

Douglas Holtz-Eakin objects to yet more tax breaks for health care:

The Tax Foundation - Why Not Subsidize Health Care Through the Tax Code? : Why Not Subsidize Health Care Through the Tax Code?by Gerald PranteFormer Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin had some insightful comments at an American Enterprise Institute conference last week exploring a proposal to use the federal income tax system as the vehicle for health care reform. In response to the idea of adding a tax exclusion for individually purchased health care expenses -- in addition to the current one for employer-provided care -- Holtz-Eakin had this to say:

I think it's bad tax policy. We ought to have in this country a tax system that means something. I am less in favor of tax systems that are designed to do things other than raise revenue. We are likely to spend a lot of money in the future. The government is likely to be bigger than it is now -- I don't know how much -- and we need a tax system that raises those revenues efficiently and doesn't muck up our economy too much. Things like this are a recipe for mucky up the tax system and the economy and so I really am nervous about that as -- from a tax-policy perspective, and implementation perspective.

So, you know, I would just do it. I would get rid of the deduction, but I'm never going to run for office, and I obviously am immune to people's anxiety....

I hate -- let me say it more carefully -- I really hate -- the notion of making everything that you want to label a healthcare cost deductible. I mean, if you want to have a personal relationship with the IRS do that because we are going to have to investigate everybody's home to see if their running shoes are a medical expense...