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Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-15-06 11:31 PM
Original message
Ownership Society Redux
New Name, Same Policy

The ownership society is back, though it's got a new label. Bush may not be pushing individual Social Security accounts these days. But he is pushing things called health savings accounts, which turn out to be similar.

Health savings accounts are ostensibly supposed to fix the health system. Right now, tax rules subsidize company-provided health insurance, but they're less generous toward out-of-pocket medical payments; as a result, company health plans pay most bills and patients have no incentive to shop around for the best bargain. Health savings accounts end this tax bias. Anyone who buys an insurance policy with a deductible of $1,050 or more can open an account and save $5,250 a year toward out-of-pocket health costs, tax-free. This will shift control of medical spending into the hands of consumers, who will discipline overpriced hospitals and clinics.

Or so goes the theory. In practice, probably less than half of all health spending outside Medicaid and Medicare would be affected by the new consumer-driven discipline. Many hospital stays cost more than any deductible, so consumers would have no incentive to bargain; emergency-room patients aren't in a fit state to negotiate prices with their doctors. But consider an even more basic question: Is the ostensible reason for health savings accounts the real one?

If the administration's goal were merely to remove the tax bias against out-of-pocket health payments, it could simply make these tax-deductible. No need for health savings accounts to accomplish that -- just tell people to count out-of-pocket payments against taxable income.
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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-15-06 11:33 PM
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1. Ownership society.
Where the "have-mores" own the "haves," who own the "have-nots."

Feudalism at its finest.

What crap.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-15-06 11:41 PM
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2. The BIG problem with these Health Savings Accounts is
Most middle class and less affluent can afford to "save" enough to have one!

If I'm not mistaken, that deductible of $1,050 is per person, so if you have a family of 4, that means you'd have to save $4,200 a year, or $350 a month! How many families have a spare $350 to do that????

I sure hope somebody points that out to the average person who doesn't pay much attention to politics and what's going on...until after they get hit with the new law!
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