Ever since Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Warren released her healthcare financing plan which, in part, was an attempt to quell the persistent question of ‘how will you pay for it?’, there has been discussion on the left-ish end of Twitter over Warren’s proposed payment method, the core of which is a per-employee tax on employers with more than fifty employees.
I think the lefties have it right (so to speak): this is an inferior mechanism compared to a payroll tax and is more regressive. It’s also not workable over the long term. While Warren is attempting to do a good thing here–make sure that the savings in healthcare goes to workers and not shareholders and owners of companies–the mechanism isn’t a good one.
All that said, this is a tempest in a teapot. It doesn’t matter. Does anyone really think what will kill Medicare for All is the funding mechanism? There are far more fundamental obstacles. Conservatives, which is to say Fox News, will claim that Democrats want to socialize your bodily fluids and that you’ll have to wait for years to get a doctor’s appointment. Many Democrats will embrace Republican talking points as well: many professional Democrats just don’t want Medicare for All. Former, corrupted Obama officials will attempt to appear reasonable and argue against it.
It’s fine to argue about the payment mechanism, but, if we ever reach that point, we’ve already won. To the extent the opposition will shout about ‘how will you pay for it?’, they will be arguing on a much more fundamental level than head taxes and indirect employee taxes. It’s going to be far more primitive and primal than that, and we had better be prepared for it.