Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Health Care Reform Disappearing Act

Health insurance reform is about give and take. If you waddle through the maze and countless pages in all the various bills before Congress you really have to wonder what is going to come out on the other end if and when this massive spending bill is finalized.

I have wondered about all the new taxes to pay for health insurance (supposedly for the uninsured) but something I read this morning crystalized the games they are playing in Washington with our money. The AP reported this on the tax credits that everyone got as part of our share of stimulus.
The tax credit, which is supposed to pay individuals up to $400 and couples up to $800, was President Barack Obama's signature tax break in the massive stimulus package enacted in February.

Most workers started receiving the credit through small increases in their paychecks in April. The tax credit was made available through new withholding tables issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

The withholding tables, however do not take into account taxpayers with multiple jobs or married couples in which both people work. They also don't take into account Social Security recipients with jobs that provided taxable income.

The Social Security Administration sent out $250 payments to more than 50 million retirees in the spring as part of the economic stimulus package. The payments were meant to provide a boost for people who didn't' qualify for the tax credit.

However, they went to many retirees who also received the credit. Those retirees will have the $250 payment deducted from their tax credit — but not until they file their tax returns next year, long after the money may have been spent.

That's a bit of a rude awakening.

President Obama called and he wants his money back.

Congress is doing the same thing with health insurance reform under the guise of taxing the rich to pay for health insurance for the poor.
That finding from a new Associated Press poll will be welcome news for House Democrats, who proposed doing just that in their sweeping remake of the U.S. medical system, which passed earlier this month and would extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The poll found participants sour on other ways of paying for the health overhaul that is being considered in Congress, including taxing insurers on high-value coverage packages derided by President Barack Obama and Democrats as "Cadillac plans."

That approach is being weighed in the Senate. It is one of the few proposals in any congressional legislation that analysts say would help reduce the nation's health expenditures, but it has come under fire from organized labor and has little support in the House.

Lawmakers also are looking at levying new taxes on insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers.

Think about this for a moment.

They want to assess health insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers to pay for health insurance for the poor. But what happens when the tax is imposed?

Drug companies will pass the tax on to consumers who will pay more for medication. Prescriptions covered by health insurance will be more expensive which will result in higher premiums.

Medical devices like pacemakers and wheelchairs will become more expensive which will result in higher costs to the consumer and health insurance company. This mean higher premiums.

Of course let's not forget that drugs, pacemakers and wheelchairs are also covered by Medicare and Medicaid, so those costs will increase as well.

And that tax on health insurance companies? It will be passed through as well to those who pay the premium.

As health insurance premiums rise, to cover the cost of new taxes, higher prices for medication, pacemakers and wheelchairs those plans are in danger of becoming a "Cadillac" plan . . . which will be taxed.

These changes don't even take into account the required 30%+ increase in premiums caused by health insurance reform that mandates more expansive (and expensive) coverage for wellness and mental health parity as well as the "no restrictions on pre-existing conditions" requirement.

So just like the government is giving us a break by lowering our withholding taxes and tossing a bone to Social Security beneficiaries, then taking it back next April, they are doing the same thing with health insurance reform.

Giving us more benefits (no pre-existing, low copays, wellness, mental health parity) which increase premiums so we will have to pay more tax. Actually, it is a double tax.

We pay the tax the first time when we consume goods like medication and medical devices, and then we pay again because we were forced to buy an expensive "Cadillac" plan.

This is a dog only a politician could love.

Change you can believe in. Yes you can.
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