Saturday, August 14, 2010

More HSA Mischief

Only this week I learned that HSA's will not reimburse over-the-counter medications without a doctor's prescription, starting January 1 [more here].

So medications such as antacids, allergy & sinus pills, laxatives, pain relievers (Tylenol, aspirin, Aleve etc), ointments for baby rash, cough/cold/flu medications, and sleep aids, among others, will require a doctor's prescription if you want to pay for them using your HSA.

C'mon. Sudafed? Aspirin?

This would seem only silly and petty except that its intent is doubtless to raise taxes (yep, gotta pay for Obamacare). It will do this by reducing the tax preferments in HSA's. The administration is consistent here--its view of HSA's is that they benefit upper-income people. Well, they can only benefit people who actually, you know, PAY taxes. That much is true.

Will this new rule harm HSA's? Well, sure. But the administration does not care about that and likely even intends to harm HSA's. After all, the more people who accumulate an HSA, the less people would have to rely on the government to subsidize their health insurance. Can't have that.

This petty tactic reminds us again just how government "competes". A government does not "compete" by trying to improve its services. It "competes" by using its powers to make rules that disable or destroy its rivals. It is an abuse of words to suggest that it's possible for a private entity to "compete" with a government.
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