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Another potential condition for a debt-ceiling increase

June 1, 2011 - Mike Maneval
The U.S. House of Representatives, including our region's Republican legislators Tom Marino of Cogan Station, Glenn "GT" Thompson of Howard, and Lou Barletta of Hazleton, voted down a measure to raise the debt ceiling to $16.7 trillion Tuesday. And they were right. Concessions need to be made to reduce spending and contain the ballooning of the nation's spending deficits and debt. President Barack Obama and his administration, particularly Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, and congressional leaders of the Democrats' caucuses are obstinately failing to lead in refusing to accept some form of serious spending cuts are needed.

Mark Trumbull of the Christian Science Monitor is skeptical any deal proffered now could include tax increases or cuts to Medicaid or Medicare. While either option or both - and the possibility of federal tax increases was doubtful anyways - may be shelved for now, many alternate cuts still exist. I've listed a few in the past few weeks, and here's another: A repeal of the portions of the health care reform law signed in 2010 that prescribe subsidies for the purchase of health care through tax-code benefits.

The measure, in my estimation, is second only to the consumer mandate for the law's greatest flaws. The strong likelihood is that the costs of health insurance plans will increase. This either leaves the tax relief a moderate expenditure that gradually accomplishes less and less in making health care affordable for the working middle-class, or an expenditure that fitfully grows into a monstrosity after periodic demagoguery to close the resurfacing gaps between what future premiums are and what the government refunds in your taxes. Either way, the funding this mechanism will consume - moderate or monstrous - could reduce the deficits. It also advance the practical and reasonable approach of repealing those portions of a health care law that falls somewhere between imperfect and deeply flawed that are most clearly flawed while leaving some of its more promising provisions - regional exchanges, the attempt at ending "pre-existing conditions" as a disqualification from receiving services - intact.


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