Some Republicans are now worried that a GOP proposal to begin taxing health-care benefits offered through employers—which would affect some 160 million Americans—would cause market disruptions far more severe and expose the party to its own political peril.The idea does do one kind of positive thing, further severing the tie between employment and insurance. But that's only a good thing if there's a single payer option available as an alternative. As Republicans would have it, it could also increase adverse selection in plans that employers might continue to offer, if healthier employees end up deciding to look for cheaper insurance on the individual market. Republicans believe that the demand created by making employer-based health care more expensive and driving people to the individual market would make health insurance cheaper. Of course, Republicans also think that taking unemployment insurance away from people automatically creates jobs for them to fill, so there you go.
The proposed tax change was proposed by President George W. Bush in 2007 and by Sen. John McCain as presidential nominee in 2008. A similar GOP plan in the House has 117 co-sponsors.
Now, some Republican policy specialists have started to advocate that the GOP instead adopt a more modest approach.
At any rate, there's one more Republican idea to "reform" health care down the drain. Pretty soon all they'll be left with is their favorite old chestnut, tort reform.