Health Care Reform and Gays

by Stephen H. Miller on March 27, 2012

Conservative Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn discusses “The Gay Alternative to Obamacare,” by which he means GOProud’s critique of the Democrats’ signature power grab. McGurn writes:

Gay Americans understandably chafe at the way the tax code discriminates against them with regard to health insurance. If you are heterosexual, the insurance provided your spouse by your company is treated as a benefit—which means it is untaxed. If, by contrast, you are gay, the insurance provided your spouse or partner by your company can be treated as income—which means taxed.

And then he observes:

Yet with one notable exception, most gay organizations nevertheless continue to argue for solutions that expand the federal government’s role in health care and leave the employer privilege intact. The exception is GOProud, a pro-free market, pro-individual liberty, pro-limited government coalition of gay conservatives and their allies. This group argues that the problem with our tax code isn’t just that it discriminates against gays. It’s that it discriminates against every American who doesn’t have his or her health insurance through an employer.

The folks at GOProud aren’t asking for special treatment. To the contrary, they want a system in which all health-care consumers are treated equally. They argue that this requires a thriving national marketplace for individual insurance…

The point being:

“When the left does identity politics, they simply craft special policies that benefit particular groups,” says [GOProud's Executive Director Jimmy] LaSalvia. “We’re about explaining how limited government and policies that treat everyone equally might benefit some people in unique ways. As conservatives, we need to do a better job of letting particular groups know how they would benefit from this approach.”

The statist left, including LGBT “progressives,” sees big government control as a way to eventually ensure equality, as long as progressives are calling the shots (and when they’re not and the mega-state falls into the hands of social conservatives, well, too bad). The libertarian view is that it’s better to reduce the role of government and allow free people to make their own decisions via voluntary contractual relationships within a free market system.

{ 7 comments }

Tom Scharbach March 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm

With all due respect, GOProud’s position is nonsense.

The two issues — equal treatment of gays and lesbians under the tax code and the federal government’s role in health care — are not logically related.

The reason — the sole reason — why gay and lesbian couples are not treated equally under the tax code is that (1) marriage equality is not the law in most states and (2) even where marriage equality is the law in a state, the federal government refuses to recognize same-sex marriages originating from that state. Change that, and the playing field will be level.

JohnInCA March 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm

I find the same problem here as I do with most libertarian positions.

It’s not really practical.

Oh, sure, if it was implemented fairly and gays didn’t fall through the loopholes (like we always do) it would be dandy, but it’s not really a practical solution to toss out the entire system and rebuild one hoping that when we rebuild it that we’ll be allowed to the table this time rather then ask for a small tweak so we can fit in.

Same with the marriage debate. Yeah, if the government just got out of the marriage business entirely, and either granted civil unions for everyone or provided some other solution to the various perks of marriage that people are accustomed to, and it wasn’t crafted in a way that excluded us (again, a big if), that’d be great. But it’s not going to happen.

Libertarians have great wonderful ideas. That won’t work in the real world.

Houndentenor March 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm

If this were any other product or service there might be a valid argument here, but buying health care isn’t like shopping for a new toaster oven. Currently I have a “pre-existing condition” because sometimes I have asthma during allergy attacks. This means that without the “Obamacare” act, I will continue to have to fill out pages and pages of paperwork to convince my insurance company (which I pay for completely on my own) to reimburse me for at least part of the doctor’s visit if I have something as simple as a sinus infection. I hate to think what it must be like for people who have serious, chronic conditions.

Our current system is unworkable. The free market is not going to provide me with better care for a lower price. Their profit is from charging me more and then refusing to pay when I need the health care I have been paying for every quarter.

Jorge March 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm

(and when they’re not and the mega-state falls into the hands of social conservatives, well, too bad)

Hmm.

Yeah. Culture wars are where it’s at :)

TomJeffersonIII March 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm

1. Conservatives should stop pretending to be ‘libertarians’ or go join the Libertarian party. Seriously, neither major political party in America can rightfully be associated with libertarianism or Marxism.

2. What about the LGBT people or straight people who cannot access decent health care now? For all its faults ‘Obamacare’ is actually a pretty modest effort to maintain private insurance providers, but also make sure that people with limited means are able to get some health care.

Houndentenor March 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

You mean gays without trust funds? Who gives a crap about them!?

Mark McNease March 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I’m not a knee-jerk leftist. However, the reason I support something like Obamacare is because it might, just might, result in affordable insurance if I lose or decide to leave my employer-provided coverage. “Free market” cries and arguments never seem to address that in this country the market does not provide affordable, let alone competitive, insurance pricing for individuals. I would happily pay, say, $300 a month for (effective) insurance, which is more than many people could pay, but no such thing is on offer. We cannot have a free market solution when the market refuses to provide competitive pricing.

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