2020 2020election Culture Election ElizabethWarren HealthCare Media Recommended

Stop using GOP talking points re: healthcare – you already “pay for it”

Call private health insurance costs “taxes in everything but name.”

To some economists, the question is moot: Americans already pay a massive “tax” to fund health care, they say. It just happens to go to private insurance companies, rather than the federal government.

That’s the argument put forth in Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman’s new book, “The Triumph of Injustice.” The economists at the University of California at Berkeley, who have advised Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on the creation of a wealth tax, call private health insurance costs “taxes in everything but name.” They are automatically deducted from workers’ paychecks. And they are essentially mandatory for families who don’t want to be crippled by long-term health-care costs or unexpected illnesses.

People only love their health insurance because they often don’t notice the costs of care until an emergency happens. 

Some time ago, Warren made a decision to refuse to answer one very specific question, the one Marc Lacey of the New York Times asked her in the debate: “Will you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for it, yes or no?”

Warren’s position is that what matters isn’t the taxes you pay for health care, it’s your total health-care costs: taxes plus premiums plus out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays and deductibles.


She clearly believes that reporters are trying to bait her into uttering the words “I will raise taxes,” a sound bite that will then be used against her, so she refuses to do it. That fact has been seized on by some of her opponents.


The only problem is that while she rejects the premise of the tax question, it would be even better if she also explained why it’s important to reject the premise of the tax question.
You might say that she talks about this in the way she does because saying you’ll raise taxes is politically toxic. But when we just accept that instead of pushing back on it, we ensure that it remains politically toxic. And that’s of course just what Republicans want. They want you to believe that if you give $15,000 to the government and get health insurance in return then you’re oppressed, but if you give $20,000 to a corporation and get health insurance in return then you’re free.

Decades of Republican anti-tax propaganda have demonized taxes, which undermines all liberal social policies. Reinforcing that anti-liberal propaganda is a reckless strategy for any Democrat, one that endangers us all.”