Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Georgia's Health Insurance Premium Tax

Hi Kids,

I was reflecting on the video made by Jeff Sexton the other day wherein he taped Gary Purcell for a few minutes on his big three issues as a republican candidate for Insurance Commissioner. Mr Purcell mentioned that Georgia has one of the highest health care insurance premium taxes in the USA and also that it generated about $700 million in tax revenues every year for the mighty Peach State. He also mentioned that half of the take goes into the general fund every year, a cool $350 million.

That number sparked my interest. There are about 9.5 million Georgians all told. We've got an estimated $700 million in tax revenue from a relatively restricted industry, health insurance and property/casualty insurers. Right off the bat, it looks like every Georgian drawing breath is shelling out about $77 dollars a year in state health/property/casualty taxes. That includes every Georgian from 1 day old to Great Great Great Grandpa. Of course that number is bogus because the only people who are paying the tax are people who have insurance. And you don't get insurance until you're old enough to have a job, own a car or some such. So the number of people who are paying this undisclosed tax in Georgia is a lot smaller that the total population of the state and you can bet your patootie that they're paying a lot more than $77 dollars a year.

The question really is when was this premium tax enacted? According to some of the websites I've visited over the last few days, it's gone up 88% since the year 2000. And I had not even been aware of it until I saw the Purcell tape over at SWGA politics a couple of days ago. So we can probably figure that at least $3.5 billion has been filched from the taxpayers of Georgia over the last 7 or 8 years by this well hidden, never discussed, tax on your healthcare.

And it's only one tip of the healthcare iceberg here in Georgia. The lack of a high risk pool for the estimated 225,000 Georgians whose pre-existing conditions mean the insurance companies won't make a dime directly from them is another, as well as the inability of a citizen of our fair state to buy a policy from somewhere other than Georgia.

Interesting topics indeed. And they need a Libertarian solution that follows the basics, Smaller Government, Lower Taxes and More Freedom!

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