New Podcast: Dr. Bob Carroll on Health Care Reform

August 19, 2009

Even during Congress’s August recess, the debate on health care reform continues to make headlines. The focus seemingly has shifted from a proposed surtax on the wealthy to fund an expansion in coverage to whether a public option insurance plan is “essential” to reform. But one issue has not received as much attention: the tax treatment of employer-provided health insurance.

In this week’s Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation Senior Fellow Bob Carroll, Ph.D., discusses health care reform, how to pay for it, and the economic consequences of high tax rates. The “crucial question,” Bob says, is “What is it about our health care system that is driving growth” in costs? The answer to that question could help determine “a winning policy.”

Bob recently authored Tax Foundation Special Report No. 170,The Excess Burden of Taxes and the Economic Cost of High Tax Rates,” which found that the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts combined with the proposed health care surtax would result in an additional burden — or “deadweight loss” — equal to the amount of revenue lawmakers intend to raise. Put another way, the total cost of the tax increases is really double what it’s estimated to be.

Listen to the podcast here.

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