It never ceases to amaze me how hypocritically reactive Democrats in the Senate really are. Yesterday, there was a report that Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Mary Landrieu are co-sponsoring a bill to “uphold Obama’s promise about keeping your plan.” Really? Feinstein, et. al. were the ones who have been telling us that it is “the law” and that all those cancellations were for “substandard plans.” Now we’re to believe that they think it’s ok to let people have substandard plans because Obama promised we could? Something’s afoot here…
And it is. Feinstein complained she got in excess of 30,000 letters and emails from people whose coverage was canceled because of Obamacare, and in violation of the “if you like your plan you can keep your plan, period” promise that came out of Obama’s mouth about twenty-three times. He lied, which we all know, and knew he was lying, which we all now know, and Congress is getting slammed by unhappy people who are tired of the lies. As well they should, especially those who happily signed that questionable piece of legislation. Now they are scrambling, but of course their solution is even worse.
Their “solution” to the problem is now to force insurance companies to keep plans that violate the mandates under Obamacare … without changing the mandates. That makes their costs skyrocket. The reason they canceled them in the first place was because the mandates made them cost the company too much money. Now, trying to legislate them into providing them will bankrupt the insurers. What I’m thinking is that bankrupting them, or making them pass the cost onto us, the consumer, is their plan.
That way there are one or two outcomes that will work to their (the Dems’) benefit. First, it means that without insurers (who will all go bankrupt by being forced to provide mandate-violating plans), government will “have to” step in and provide health insurance. Second, if the insurance companies pass on the cost, people can’t afford the “substandard plans” anymore and will go on over to Obamacare exchanges for their ever so slightly “affordable” plans. As we all know, those plans aren’t at all affordable, and people will have no options. It’s all on the rocky road to single payer. Feinstein has already said single payer is their ultimate goal.
When we all protest, especially the right, we get the second lie perpetrated on the populace by the White House and Dems: The Republicans don’t have their own plan so they can’t complain about this one. Wrong! There are two alternatives out there: 1) The “Keep Your Health Plan Act” which will exempt insurers from the mandates. This allows people to actually keep affordable coverage they already have; and 2) the American Health Care Reform Act. The first one is a stop gap, the second an actual plan that works.
The American Health Care Reform Act of 2013 (AHCRA and H.R. 3121), is a non-government driven, market based model of health insurance. It will actually work to keep costs down and get people insured. It uses current strategies that are actually working and expands them. The most important part of AHCRA is it completely repeals Obamacare! Here’s a run-down.
The AHCRA is really a tax reform bill that deals with the deductions for health insurance. It evens the playing field between employers and individuals by providing the same tax advantages to both. The standard deduction for health insurance (SDHI) would be $7,500 for individuals and $20,000 for families. No matter whether you maintain employer-sponsored or individual health coverage for the entire year, you get the full SDHI.
Here’s the really cool part – the SDHI amount remains the same whether you paid that much for coverage or not. If you pay less than the individual/family amount, you still get the full deduction! This bill encourages careful price shopping because you will still get the entire SDHI even if you spend less. Even better, if you don’t itemize your deductions, the SDHI still applies!
Another cool tax benefit to this is borrowed from the idea of health savings accounts (HSAs), the SDHI deduction is taken BEFORE your adjusted gross income is calculated. It’s pre-tax, just as HSAs are taken from your check pre-tax.
It also expands HSAs. These are great accounts to have and many Americans use them. The money comes out of your paycheck pre-tax, and can be spent on a laundry list of medical costs, from doctors, to prescriptions, to co-pays, to uncovered expenses. The AHCRA expands the list and provides more preventative kinds of expenses to be covered. It also expands the contribution limits.
Another great idea from this bill: HSAs for kids. Now, they are only accounts held that, yes, can be used for a whole family, but held in the employee’s name. Under the AHCRA, parents could establish accounts for their kids and contribute up to $3,000 per year to an HSA for their children before they reach the age of five. The parent gets the tax deduction and controls the account until the child reaches age 18. It is similar to a 529 college account except for medical expenses.
These ideas, and there are many more in the bill, keep the control of health insurance decisions where they belong – with the person they affect. Those who want to be uninsured by choice, should be able to do so. BUT having the tax benefits makes it much more attractive to have health insurance. Other parts of the bill address those who can’t afford it, but not by harming existing programs (Medicare and Medicaid) like Obamacare does.
You have to ask yourself why the Democrats are so against this? We all know the answer – CONTROL.
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