I am shocked and astounded to think that the Federal Government is even thinking of eliminating some very popular, long standing tax-advantaged saving and spending vehicles – FSAs and HRAs – as a way to pay for a government health plan. See ARTICLE.
In my opinion, this is insane for a couple of reasons that come to mind.
1. Theses tax advantaged vehicles are the ONLY health care related programs, created by the government, which are actually effective tools for both encouraging and rewarding active engagement by consumers in the purchase of their own health care. Individuals who use these types of vehicles have an incentive to manage their costs. Since overall health is most impacted by many individual lifestyle decisions, this is where the incentive NEEDS to be.
2. No new tax or elimination of an existing tax break will EVER be enough to “pay” for a public health plan that lacks incentive for consumer engagement. Nothing that is free, including medical services, is ever truly appreciated or valued appropriately. With the goverment in a role of managing the cost of care, rationing is an inevitability. Just look to any of the Universal Healthcare systems we emulate around the world.
Take a look at the Medicare website to get a glimpse into what may be an all too near future – indecipherable choices without clear and competent assistance through the maze. I hope someone wakes up soon!
See my previous post – My Fix for Health Care – in less than 250 words.