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The End of HSAs: Harry Reid wants to kill consumer-driven health care
Wall Street Journal ^ | November 21, 2009 | editorial board

Posted on 11/21/2009 7:59:39 AM PST by reaganaut1

[T]oday let's focus on the damage the [Senate health care] bill would do to consumer-driven health plans—the kind that give individuals more control over their health dollars and insurance choices. The 2,074-page bill crushes them with malice-aforethought.

...

Start with its attack on flexible spending accounts that are an important part of many employer plans. Flex accounts let employees set aside some portion of their pre-tax pay for out-of-pocket costs or medical services that their insurance plan doesn't cover, such as a child's orthodontics or testing supplies for diabetics. The Reid bill caps these now-unlimited accounts at $2,500 per year and imposes new restrictions on qualifying medical expenses, raising some $5 billion by exposing income above the non-indexed cap to taxes.

...

The Reid bill also assaults health savings accounts, or HSAs, which allow individuals to accumulate tax-free funds for future medical expenses when coupled with low-premium, high-deductible insurance. The Reid bill changes tax provisions to make HSAs less attractive, but the real threat comes via increased regulation.

These insurance products will likely be barred from the insurance "exchanges" that will demolish and supplant today's individual market. Employers will also find them more difficult if not illegal to offer once the government has new powers to "define the essential health benefits" that all plans must eventually offer. Plans that focus mainly on catastrophic health expenses, instead of routine procedures, aren't generous enough for Democrats.

Liberals claim people who choose these options aren't helping as much to finance a common pool and may encourage adverse selection if too many young or healthy people opt out. While all insurance involves some degree of risk-sharing, Democrats want to impose true social insurance a la Europe by obliterating the flexibility of insurers to design products that are tailored to suit different individual needs.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: 111th; agenda; bhohealthcare; harryreid; healthcare; hsa
To "bend the cost curve", people need to pay for more of their own health care, and tax-advantaged Health Savings Accounts encourage them to set aside money.
1 posted on 11/21/2009 7:59:41 AM PST by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1

Regimentation. And uniformity of outcomes. That’s what they want.


2 posted on 11/21/2009 8:10:57 AM PST by clintonh8r
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To: clintonh8r

It’s a derivative of “fairness.”


3 posted on 11/21/2009 8:12:40 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: reaganaut1

My company offers a HSA. The plan is great and you really work with your providers to decide what is necessary/what is not, and negotiate costs.

Money leftover is rolled over and invested as you see fit.


4 posted on 11/21/2009 8:15:45 AM PST by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

Democrats hate personal liberty, and as a result, the HSA style plan is their enemy.

Enrollees purchase a high-deductible health plan (which is generally much, much cheaper than a traditional insurance plan), and make tax-free contributions to a Health Savings Account. It brings a market element to healthcare, which the left despises. They cannot abide by anything that empowers the individual rather than the government; for if people are independent and able to care for themselves, who in the world would vote for Democrats?

I know a few liberals, and it boggles my mind how someone can possess such a different view of the world. People don’t seem to be able to connect the logical dots: giving government more power, necessarily means the individual is less free.

I was so proud of my 8 year old daughter yesterday. During social studies, the teacher asked the class if anyone could explain what the difference was between Democrats and Republicans. My daughter answered: “Republicans believe free people can make better decisions with their money than the government. Democrats believe the government should take more of our money to make those decisions for us.”

The most amazing part? The public school teacher told her she was right!


5 posted on 11/21/2009 8:32:41 AM PST by mills044 (God bless the 9/12 DC marchers.)
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To: reaganaut1

In the article, Reid said FSA’s encourage wasteful spending because of use it or lose it rules. I think most people that sign up for FSA accounts have legitimate health expenses and plan accordingly. It would be better if the funds didn’t expire so care didn’t have to be rushed. I don’t buy the argument that people are going to allow unnecessary medical procedures to be performed on their bodies. If they limit the amount, it may have the adverse effect of delaying needed care and actually increasing costs.


6 posted on 11/21/2009 8:38:52 AM PST by EVO X
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To: reaganaut1
"This is about putting government in charge of health care, whether Americans like it or not."

Tonight's vote is the beginning of ending the greatest health system in the world.
Yes, it needs improved, but not decimated like they will do.

The Democrats are simply telling the people to - bend over.

7 posted on 11/21/2009 8:50:13 AM PST by AGreatPer (Impeach Obama!)
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To: reaganaut1

The term “general welfare” is mentioned TWICE in the Constitution, and that only in the Preamble, and Article 1, Section 8, where its meaning is entirely different from the common interpretation today.

The “general welfare” spoken of only provides a CLIMATE of permission to seek the virtues of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, as called for in the Declaration of Independence. Government-administrated doles do NOT offer this umbrella of protection, in which endless bondage, perpetual misery and early death are the foremost characteristics.

Despots and tyrants are ever the same, offering through guile and intentionally vague promises, a life free of personal decision-making, which is perhaps a burden for some people, but not all. This is the very antithesis of “liberty” or “freedom”, both of which were surrendered at the door. Coming to the table, those who would sit expecting a banquet, are fed only scraps, and those thrown before them in a surly and miserly manner. These victims of broken promises turn away, to die starving and in grief. Thus are they deprived of life, liberty and the pursuit of anything remotely resembling “happiness”.

Mr. Reid, we do not wish to be disrespected in that way. We are well able to make our own decisions on these things, and in the great majority of the time, make those decisions which are of the most benefit to ourselves personally. We extent the penumbra of benefit to those whom we love as ourselves, and while it may or may not impact upon another, hold in abeyance any extension of that coverage to those whom we know not, nor shall we place our trust. Our brother’s keeper we would be, but not by extending undifferentiated charity to unknown and possibly undeserving persons, particularly those who would not acknowledge or reciprocate that charity.

In other words, the right to make private contracts with other individuals or entities, shall be the guiding principle here. Contracts forced upon unwilling participants are not contracts at all, they are instruments of bondage, and an unjust deprivation of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.


8 posted on 11/21/2009 8:57:06 AM PST by alloysteel (....the Kennedys can be regarded as dysfunctional. Even in death.)
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To: reaganaut1
While all insurance involves some degree of risk-sharing, Democrats want to impose true social insurance a la Europe by obliterating the flexibility of insurers to design products that are tailored to suit different individual needs.

"a la Europe"

Ubama and the scumbag Democrats are intent on making America as great as Belgium.

9 posted on 11/21/2009 9:05:10 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: alloysteel
There is a haunting elegance to your post. The following is particularly poignant:

Despots and tyrants are ever the same, offering through guile and intentionally vague promises, a life free of personal decision-making, which is perhaps a burden for some people, but not all. This is the very antithesis of “liberty” or “freedom”, both of which were surrendered at the door. Coming to the table, those who would sit expecting a banquet, are fed only scraps, and those thrown before them in a surly and miserly manner. These victims of broken promises turn away, to die starving and in grief. Thus are they deprived of life, liberty and the pursuit of anything remotely resembling “happiness”.

My message is disappointingly mundane following such eloquence. Obi Wan's description of the LosEisley bar drift into my mind when contemplating the U.S. Congress ...

10 posted on 11/21/2009 9:09:35 AM PST by MHGinTN (Obots, believing they cannot be deceived, it is impossible to convince them when they are deceived.)
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To: Erik Latranyi
The plan is great and you really work with your providers to decide what is necessary/what is not, and negotiate costs. Money leftover is rolled over and invested as you see fit.

HERESY!

11 posted on 11/21/2009 9:19:36 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.)
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To: reaganaut1

Because my husband is self employed, we have an HSA. The premiums used to affordable because we had a high deductible but in the last few years, the premiums have soared even for a high deductible. Don’t get me wrong...I love the HSA but it irritates me that our premiums have gone up while we are still meeting the high deductible. We even changed insurance companies. The first year was very affordable. Then I had to have an operation (gall bladder) and up went the premiums! I am scared to death to see how much it goes up this year especially since my husband’s business was down this year due to the economy. We’ll have to see if we can afford to keep health insurance. If not, that should be our decision! I just wish there was more competition and that the government would mind it’s own business.


12 posted on 11/21/2009 9:42:06 AM PST by Cricket24 (Conservatives Only...NO RINO'S!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Erik Latranyi

“My company offers a HSA. The plan is great and you really work with your providers to decide what is necessary/what is not, and negotiate costs.”

Only if you have the extra money to put into a HSA to begin with, and my providers will not negotiate costs which are regulated by my insurance.


13 posted on 11/21/2009 11:16:53 AM PST by JavaJumpy
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To: AGreatPer

Tonight’s vote is the beginning of ending the greatest health system in the world.

Yes, it needs improved, but not decimated like they will do.

The Democrats are simply telling the people to - bend over.
________________________________________

Well said - and you’ll have to pick me up off the floor if it *doesn’t* pass.


14 posted on 11/21/2009 11:22:54 AM PST by JavaJumpy
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To: reaganaut1
If all that money were instead available via an HSA, including by borrowing against future contributions, "wouldn't you be able to afford your own care?" Mr. Goldhill asks. "And wouldn't you consume health care differently if you and your family didn't have to spend that money only on care?"

This is precisely the future liberals fear because it would make health care less susceptible to political control. The Reid bill makes it impossible for people to choose better reform alternatives, the ones that can only be discovered through innovation and competition in a dynamic marketplace.

Liberals: "We'll take that money. You get the right to stand in line."

15 posted on 11/21/2009 6:07:02 PM PST by GVnana ("Obama is incredibly naive and grossly egotistical." Sarkozy)
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To: alloysteel

OUTSTANDING post! Thanks, alloysteel. BTTT!


16 posted on 11/21/2009 6:09:47 PM PST by PGalt
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To: Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ...

The list, ping


17 posted on 11/21/2009 6:54:44 PM PST by Nachum (The complete Obama list at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: Nachum

And a lot of people like these types of plans.

(Shaking my head.)


18 posted on 11/21/2009 6:58:05 PM PST by GOP_Lady
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To: GOP_Lady

Another attempt to take our money. :(


19 posted on 11/21/2009 7:00:28 PM PST by Nachum (The complete Obama list at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: Cricket24
The premiums used to affordable because we had a high deductible but in the last few years, the premiums have soared even for a high deductible.

Exactly the problem with them. We have checked into them several times over the last few years...would save $100/month for a policy that has a $10,000 deductible...it would be idiotic to take that gamble.

20 posted on 11/21/2009 7:08:51 PM PST by garandgal
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To: reaganaut1; Grampa Dave; tubebender; budwiesest; WilliamofCarmichael; Ernest_at_the_Beach
This and the gutting of Medicare Advantage are devastating and totally STUPID!!! (Oh, and counter productive, too)

They really are "thowing the baby out with the bathwater!"

21 posted on 11/21/2009 9:28:40 PM PST by SierraWasp (AARP is guilty of Elder Abuse by endorsing a law that eliminates Medicare Advantaqe plans!!!)
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To: alloysteel

Your third paragraph is PROFOUND!!!


22 posted on 11/21/2009 9:33:20 PM PST by SierraWasp (AARP is guilty of Elder Abuse by endorsing a law that eliminates Medicare Advantaqe plans!!!)
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