Marginal Revolution has a good point but misses the more important one – the 40% is just an average. I don’t spend 40% of my income on health care, so taxing me 40% for health care I wouldn’t choose on my own diminishes my liberty and wrecks my budget. I’ll be blunt: a 40% tax for health care would result in at least one more bankruptcy in the United States. If you include over the counter pain relievers and antihistamines and the occasional chiropractic visit, I spend somewhere in the neighborhood of a half to one percent of my income on health care. (If I decided to add some catastrophic care coverage that I’d likely never use, my cost would go up to about 5% of income and I’m not by any means rich. I’m not sure what the problem even is beyond people who don’t pay for their own care seeing a doctor every time they have the sniffles.) Even if moving from private payment to goverment payment made no difference in the aggregate, it would still mean that those who budget for less traditional health care will have their liberty reduced and their budgets shot to hell.
Sorry Brad (and Brad), I’d like to oblige but there is a big difference between spending 40 percent of your own income on health and having 40 percent of your income taken in taxes and spent on health even if we assume that the spending is on exactly the same thing.