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Chris Carroll: The “sick tax” is narrow and regressive. It’s time to let it go.

Staff WriterMay 19, 2019

Imagine a place where the sicker one is, and the more health care one needs, the more taxes one pays. Sounds like something that even George Orwell, author of the dystopian “1984,” would have had trouble coming up with. Unfortunately, for us in Minnesota, it is fact — not fiction. It is called the “provider tax,” but, since the revenue comes from health care delivery, it is better known as the “sick tax.” It was enacted, against great opposition, in 1993, and was due to expire this year, but an attempt is being made to revive it.

The tax was meant to fund MinnesotaCare for those with lower incomes, but that is not where the money always goes. Much has been siphoned off into the state’s general fund, a bunch went to the University of Minnesota, etc., but a huge amount of it has ended up in the health insurance industries obscenely enormous slush funds.

So who’s funding MinnesotaCare? Well, it’s mostly the Feds anyway, so don’t be mislead into thinking that there will be death and dying in the streets if we don’t have the “sick tax” anymore. It is an extremely narrow and regressive tax, borne by many who are the least capable of paying it, when it should be a general obligation for the whole state. Sen. Miller and Rep. Pelowski, vote no on reviving the “sick tax.”

Chris Carroll, DMD, Winona

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