October 18, 2008 4:19PM

Obama Sides with Big Business over the Little Guy

From an excellent column in The Examiner by Tim Carney:

McCain would end the special treatment of employer‐​based health insurance, and replace it with a broad tax benefit for all health insurance purchases, whether through your boss or on your own…

The New York Times reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable didn’t like the idea of people breaking free from their employer for healthcare. “To some in the business community, this is very discomforting,” Chamber lobbyist Bruce Josten told the Times.

Of course it’s discomforting—it could spur entrepreneurship and boost employee independence. Currently, the tax code punishes you for finding health care outside of your employer, which makes you more likely to stay in your current job, which gives your employer more control over you. Rejected for a raise? You still can’t leave because you need health care. Want to strike out on your own? How will you afford health care for yourself and your employees?…

Small businesses would have a much easier time attracting employees if people owned and shopped for health insurance the same way they own and shop for their car insurance and life insurance—buying it on the market, and owning it regardless of your job. Entrepreneurs would also strike out on their own more were it not for the difficulty in today’s market of finding insurance outside of your employer.

You see the battle lines here, and they are the same as always: Big businesses want things to stay the same and so they favor government barriers to markets; small businesses want a more level, open playing field, and so they want government to be out of the way—or at least more neutral.