Rudy’s Plan

RUDY’S PLAN….Ezra Klein correctly analyzes the laughable healthcare “plan” offered up by Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday:

Just about all you need to know about Giuliani’s thoughtfulness on the issue can be summed up by the following: In the speech introducing and detailing his new health care proposal, Giuliani refers to the “Democrats” six times. “Single-payer” is said eight times. “Socialized medicine,” or some variant thereof, makes nine appearances. “Uninsured” is never uttered — not once.

If you’re interested in more, Ezra also provides a technical explanation of why Rudy’s plan is meaningless (tax deductions don’t help the poor, who don’t pay taxes in the first place, and the incentives are too small to make much difference to middle class taxpayers who do pay taxes). For another perspective, Jon Cohn offers his take here.

However, I thought the (unintentionally) funniest take came from Joe Klein yesterday, though I didn’t get around to blogging about it. Klein writes that a tax-credit-based system might be OK but that Giuliani’s plan fails because it doesn’t require insurance companies to cover everyone, doesn’t require universal participation, and isn’t progressive enough to benefit the poor. Aside from the fact that Giuliani’s plan doesn’t involve tax credits anyway, that’s sort of like saying a car is OK except that it doesn’t have a transmission, doesn’t steer properly, and has to be pushed whenever there’s a headwind.

Basically, though, Ezra has the right take on this. The remarkable thing about Giuliani’s plan isn’t in the details anyway. It’s that it doesn’t even make a serious pretense of being an actual solution to any of our current healthcare problems. Even taken on its own terms, it wouldn’t expand coverage, it wouldn’t help the poor, it wouldn’t contain costs, and it wouldn’t improve care. It literally wouldn’t do anything except provide a tax break for the wealthy, the only people who would benefit from an increased tax deduction.

Funny how that works.

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