Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One of the first ways HCR will affect me.

Here's how it's done. Not a new "tax" to pay for healthcare reform, just a slight adjustment.

Starting in 2014, those of us who have employer sponsored health insurance will now get a W-2 for the cost of our benefits (what the employer pays) and we pay income tax on that. This will mean a huge increase in our taxes. Kiss any refunds goodbye, and if you had to pay in the past, there will be more to pay in the future. Don't let anyone tell you this isn't going to cost us. It's just going to cost more for those of us who have the traditional insurance. Those who qualify for the expanded Medicaid will not have to pay more. This isn't just the rich we're talking about here (Robin Hood theory) but the middle and lower working class people trying to stretch the all-too-small dollar. In other words, your tax bill will get bigger, without seeing more wages to compensate, so consider this a loss.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Obama has also factored in limitations to Flex dollars (pre-tax money you can use for OTC drugs like Tylenol, Advil and cold remedies). The taxes are going up, but he's hoping we won't notice. Free lunch?

Again, I appreciate the concept of universal health care and I truly believe it can be done. If patterned after Japan, Taiwan and other countries it can work but more patchwork will not because there will always be people getting the short end of the stick. The employer pays for insurance but we pay in decreased take-home pay. Employers who don't do this risk penalties. We still have all the red-tape and insurance boondoggle, despite a few protective controls (these are mostly good - at least in theory - we have yet to see them in action). We can't benefit from the universal nature of all benefits being equal, no money exchanging hands, billing departments eliminated and other expensive pieces in this health care mess we're in. We're just getting another patch on another hole, but this does not eliminate the other holes.

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