I know you all are eager to hear the State of the Union address, which I will live blog. I’m not promising to live blog it sober, mind you, nor do I promise not to channel surf if it gets too painful. But I will do my bloggerly duty.
In tomorrow’s New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Robert Pear provide us a preview — Bush’s plan for national health care!
You’ll like this, my lovelies. It’s as good as his Social Security plan.
President Bush intends to use the State of the Union address on Tuesday to tackle the rising cost of health care with a one-two punch: tax breaks to help low-income people buy health insurance and tax increases for workers whose health plans cost more than the national average.
â€œI will propose a tax reform designed to help make basic private insurance more affordable,â€ Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address on Saturday, â€œwhether you get it through your job or on your own.â€ He did not offer specifics, but an administration official provided details of the plan late Friday afternoon. …
… The basic concept of the presidentâ€™s plan is that employer-provided health insurance, now treated as a fringe benefit exempt from taxation, would no longer be entirely tax-free. Workers could be taxed if their coverage exceeded limits set by the government. But the government would also offer a new tax deduction for people buying health insurance on their own. …
… Supporters say the plan would expand coverage to some of the 47 million uninsured. But critics say it would, in effect, tax people with insurance to provide coverage to those without it.
Now, here is the bestest part.
In his radio address on Saturday, Mr. Bush described his proposal as a way to â€œtreat health insurance more like home ownership,â€ giving people tax deductions for their health insurance in much the same way as they get tax deductions for home mortgage interest. He said the current system â€œunwisely encourages workers to choose overly expensive, gold-plated plans,â€ driving up the overall cost of coverage and care.
I’ll pause here to let you read that last paragraph two or three more times. It takes a while for the breathtaking — help me here; I need a noun that means “clueless” and “arrogant” at the same time.
And isn’t this the same attitude that got Marie Antoinette decapitated?
More clues about the SOTU:
White House officials say Mr. Bush has decided to forgo the traditional formula for the State of the Union â€” a laundry list of ideas, many of them dead on arrival â€” in favor of a more thematic speech that will concentrate on a few issues, like health care, immigration and energy, on which he hopes to make gains with the new Democrat-controlled Congress.
Yeah, that health care proposal is going to knock ’em dead.
As he heads into the address, his first delivered to a Congress controlled entirely by Democrats, Mr. Bush faces intense skepticism from lawmakers over his new strategy in Iraq. But while he will not be able to avoid the subject of Iraq in the speech, White House officials hope to use the address to shift the national conversation away from the war and toward the possibility of bipartisan cooperation in Washington.
I can’t stand it.