Lena Epstein (R) and Haley Stevens (D) On Healthcare

Candidates for Michigan's Eleventh (11th) Congressional District

Lena Epstein and Haley Stevens 

Lena Epstein and Haley Stevens (freep.com)

Ms. Stevens is the only candidate to write on her web site about opposing the Obamacare Cadillac tax on expensive health insurance policies that provide far superior coverage than most individuals can afford or have.  The employer provided tax free Cadillac healthcare plans usually result from collective bargaining with large companies that are in a position to pass their healthcare costs along in the price of their product due to the fact that their competitors have similar overhead.  Michigan's big three auto companies are a good example.  Individuals and small companies have more competition and cannot easily pass expensive healthcare costs to the market.  Their health insurance has higher co-pays and deductibles than Cadillac plans, which makes the insurance almost useless according to Ms. Stevens's web site.  The self pay are paying their health insurance premiums and medical expenses with after tax dollars.  The Obamacare Cadillac tax was to equalize this to some extent.  It was felt that Cadillac plans increase overall healthcare costs by causing over utilization due to no or low co-pays and no deductibles.  The Cadillac tax will only be assessed on the portion of the premium that is above a stated high dollar amount.  It has been delayed several times.  It will go into effect in 2022, but probably never will.


I am disappointed that Ms. Stevens has placed a high priority on advocating for  individuals who have the best health insurance benefits provided tax free by their employer.  She should advocate for the self pay to get the same tax breaks currently enjoyed by those who have Cadillac health insurance The self pay face a huge tax disparity compared to those that have employer provided health care benefits. 


Ms. Stevens should advocate for medical expenses and health insurance premiums paid with after tax dollars to  be completely subtracted from gross income before income taxes are calculated.


Why the self pay face such a disparity.


Ask the two candidates where they stand on allowing medical expenses to be subtracted from gross income before calculating income tax.  Fight to eliminate this healthcare disparity.  


Ms. Epstein's web site simply states the usual Republican knee jerk that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced.  She wants healthcare to be affordable, which is nothing original.  Ms. Epstein favors the Republican healthcare plan that gutted pre-existing condition protection.  Healthcare would be more affordable for the self pay if the disparity is eliminated.  Ms. Epstein does not have a healthcare agenda beyond the knee jerk.  It is not too late for Ms. Epstein to advocate for the self pay in order to gain some votes.  


Ms. Stevens states that healthcare is a right which is an important distinction from Ms. Epstein's position that healthcare should be affordable.  Healthcare will never be affordable for many Americans without help from the government, which Ms. Epstein does not want.  Ms. Stevens wants to improve Obamacare, not repeal it.  Her suggestion of allowing individuals between age 55 to 65 to buy into Medicare is good for that age group.  Overall, Ms. Stevens does not go far enough to satisfy the progressives.


 Ms. Epstein will help her cause in what is predicted to be a close election by advocating for the self pay to get the same tax breaks currently enjoyed by those who have Cadillac health insurance. 


It is now "at the end of the day" (an expression that Lena Epstein used numerous times in her only debate with Haley Stevens on Nov. 4, 2018 on the Sunday Flashpoint TV program) concerning the campaign and I see no reason to recommend a vote for Ms. Epstein.  Vote for Haley Stevens.


Ted Golden, M.D.