I understand that you’re trying to get me to say the words “Taxes will go up,” because then everyone can say how politically dangerous it is. So let’s talk about taxes and health care. It’s simple: Taxes are what we pay, as a country, to get what we want. We want a military to defend us, so we pay taxes. We want air traffic controllers to keep planes from flying into each other, so we pay taxes. We want national parks, and medical research, and roads and bridges and police and firefighters and schools, so we pay taxes.
And just as we decided that every child deserves an education so we created a school system, we can and should decide that every American deserves health coverage, so we’ll create a national health system — one where nobody goes without coverage because they can’t afford it, nobody goes bankrupt because they got sick, nobody avoids going to the doctor because their company’s plan has a big deductible, and all the anxiety and fear around paying for health care is just not something we have to deal with anymore.
Of course taxes are going to pay for it, just like they pay for all those other things we decided we want. Why is it that we act as though it’s an awful thing to pay for health coverage with taxes, but it’s somehow better if we all pay even more to corporations making profits off us?
If you think that whether somebody’s taxes go up or down is more important than whether the total cost they pay for health care goes up or down, you can’t pretend you actually care about their pocketbooks. You’re just playing a game, a game whose rules were written by Republicans.
In this case they’re determined to keep the wealthy from contributing their fair share while the rest of us empty our wallets so insurance companies can keep making billions in profits, but it’s how they keep us from addressing all kinds of pressing problems. They always say the same thing: “We can’t do that — we might have to pay for it with taxes!” It’s the wrong question. The right questions are what we want to do, how it should work, and whether the tax system is fair.
That’s why I won’t answer that question the way you want me to.