Friday, March 05, 2010

Congress Declares War on Health Savings Accounts

"While Congress has been debating health reform, employers have been creating new consumer-driven health care (CDHC) plans. In fact, CDHC plans are the only type of health insurance that has been shown to reliably change patient and doctor behavior in ways that lower costs and improve the quality of care.

More than half of employers now offer consumer-driven options, including Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). In 2010, nearly 18 million people will be enrolled. Federal legislation can stop progress in its tracks, however.

For example, the health care bill passed by the Senate (December 24, 2009) does not directly outlaw HSA-eligible plans, but it restricts HSA options in insidious ways that will delay, deny, defeat and ultimately kill them. The proposed Senate health reform does not focus on improving health or health care. It is more about political power, centralizing federal control, growing government and expanding bureaucracies."

~By
Ronald E. Bachman, President and CEO of Healthcare Visions and a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis

26 Comments:

At 3/05/2010 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A large part of the Democrat project over the last 40+ years has been to drive up the cost of health care. They have restricted competition, imposed mandates, fought any attempt at legal reform, vilified drug and insurance companies and thwarted innovation all with the purpose of creating in the public mind a sense that "the system is broken" and there is a "health care crisis". Now they boldly declare that they have the solution - socialism.

 
At 3/05/2010 11:56 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

HSAs will not fund VEBAs like the earmarks in a national health care bill. Those plans depend on new federal dollars as revenue to remain solvent in the near future.

 
At 3/05/2010 12:03 PM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

As plans go, my HSA is about all I can almost afford at this point.

HSA: Help Save America! ... from government Doofensmirch's

 
At 3/05/2010 12:06 PM, Anonymous morganovich said...

if there is one thing you can count on the federal government to oppose, it's a successful alternative to whatever they are currently doing.

if there's another, it's anything that promotes personal responsibility.

if there's a third, it's anything that takes monetary decisions away from the feds and gives them to citizens.

3 strikes, HSA is out just like they have gone after school vouchers and tort reform.

 
At 3/05/2010 12:06 PM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

The televised health-care/health insurance debate of Thursday 02/25/2010 came complete with many technical insurance issues such as selling insurance across state lines, health savings account plans, and pre-existing condition private welfare plan underwriting. Than there was Mr. Obama's references to "good insurance" and "bad insurance".

Apparently catastrophic plans, large deductible plans, and large deductible health savings account type plans are "bad insurance" according to Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama thinks "good insurance" is a low deductible, low co-pay plan, with low doctor office co-pays and low prescription card co-pays. That is, Mr. Obama thinks Cadillac plans are "good insurance". Those very expensive, very rich benefit plans known as Cadillac plans are good insurance.

The attempt by Mr. Obama to categorize insurance plans as good or bad is really an argument of good vs. bad. You see, the underlying political argument is that Cadillac plans are the only good insurance plans and that catastrophic or high deductible plans are the bad insurance plans.

The argument is framed to limit choice by making higher deductible plans the villain. That is, only Mr. Obama's "good insurance" is what people need. People need Cadillac plans. That high cost, rich benefit plans, are good insurance and this is the plan Mr. Obama has chosen for you.

The higher deductible, lower cost plans are bad insurance according to Mr. Obama. That the choice of lowering cost by retaining and managing more risk is "bad insurance".

Note that the good vs. bad insurance argument put forth by Mr. Obama has the element of cost conspicuously absent. That cost is never mentioned and purposely avoided as the debate point is confined to the good vs. bad with the debater's (Obama) conclusion ,that good is better than bad, purposely shaped for the audience regardless of other important variables, cost being a major variable.

Moreover, the "summit" was held regarding health-care cost. Yet Cadillac plans (good insurance) drive up health-care cost due to over utilization of health-care resources while catastrophic/high deductible plans (bad insurance) drive down cost as they help eliminate over utilization of health-care resources.

As with any debate point using the good vs. bad scenario, the bad needs eliminated. The debater in the argument conveniently defines good and bad for his audience. Hence the elimination of the "bad" leaves you with Mr. Obama's definition of what is "good". Hence only Mr. Obama's choice is the good choice. Of course in the end, Mr. Obama is merely arguing to reduce the consumers freedom to choose.

 
At 3/05/2010 12:38 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

W.E. Heasley,

Aren't you essentially doing the same thing that you are accusing President Obama of doing by omitting his proper title numerous times in your essay above (whether he deserves it or not is not relevant).

 
At 3/05/2010 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, The President deserves to be treated with respect, but every major "news" oulet spent the last 8 years calling President Bush, "Mr. Bush", when they weren't calling him something worse.

 
At 3/05/2010 12:56 PM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

Walt G:

Excuse me. You make an excellent point! Here is my correction:

Mr. Obama.

Any further questions?

 
At 3/05/2010 12:56 PM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

"...President"

When BO starts acting like the President of ALL the United States, then we'll give him the honor.

Not until.

 
At 3/05/2010 1:26 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

You don't have to give him the honorable title of President. He already has it.

 
At 3/05/2010 1:39 PM, Blogger OA said...

This is clear proof that the intent of the "reform" is to trend toward a single payer system. They're setting up slow deaths for HSAs and regular insurance. If they actually cared about costs, they would favor programs that have actually worked in reducing costs.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield recently announced mid double digit increases in California premiums for regular plans. They're my HSA provider and my premiums weren't increased at all. In 4 years they've gone up twice and one increase was partially due to my hitting the next age tier. In spite of the increases, it's still nowhere close to what I had been paying 5 years ago for regular insurance.

But reduce the deductible and my premiums will go up by about 20%, as that's about the differential now. I could similarly save 20% by choosing a deductible closer to the max.

https://www.blueshieldca.com/bsc/home/home.jhtml

Basically this turns that promise that I'd be able to keep the plan I already have into another broken promise.

 
At 3/05/2010 4:01 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

Uh, Walt?

Get your head out of that place it's apparently stuck in.

"Mr. Obama" IS a completely accurate and totally proper and polite referent for President Obama.

This reflects the founders' intent that "The President" not be considered above and "more significant" than any other man, that the leaders of America were not royalty by another name, but essentially commoners like everyone else.

Who's advising you on protocol, the same genius who got Brown his DVDs and the Queen an iPod?

Whatever you do, don't let them advise you on foreign policy.

 
At 3/05/2010 4:24 PM, Anonymous Craig said...

Obama is sufficient identification.

And it's apparent that any effort to do away with or dilute HSA's belies the Democrats' real priorities. They are certainly not about improving health care or Americans' access to it.

 
At 3/05/2010 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, while we're all bitching and moaning about the need for more HSAs, more retail health care clinics, the insurance industry is looking to drop consumers and raise prices to raise its bottom line. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/05/insurers-set-to-raise-pri_n_487684.html). Hey, for people like Stephen Hemsley, $124 million in compensation is never enough.

Those HSAs and retail health clinics are just what the country really needs! Question: does anyone with a terminal illness (i.e., cancer) want to do an experiment, that is drop your health insurance coverage (if you have any) and see if an HSA or a retail health clinic will help your dilemma? Anyone? Anyone?

 
At 3/05/2010 5:06 PM, Anonymous Rand said...

Back about 16 years ago when they were pushing "HillaryCare", I recall how they had spent years bashing private HMO's. "HillaryCare" was nothing but a government run HMO. Somehow, they think that the government can do it better. The Post Office, Medicare, and Medicaid are going bankrupt - Blue Cross /Blue Shield is not. That should be the first clue as to who can run it better.

 
At 3/05/2010 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those HSAs and retail health clinics are just what the country really needs! Question: does anyone with a terminal illness (i.e., cancer) want to do an experiment, that is drop your health insurance coverage (if you have any) and see if an HSA or a retail health clinic will help your dilemma? Anyone? Anyone?

Well, my HSA has got me covered in the event of cancer or a terminal illness. But I don't think that anything can cure your cluelessness.

 
At 3/05/2010 7:30 PM, Blogger OA said...

Anonymous said...
Yup, while we're all bitching and moaning about the need for more HSAs, more retail health care clinics, the insurance industry is looking to drop consumers and raise prices to raise its bottom line.


Well we already know you have no idea what an HSA is.

So, what was your point in linking to that Huffington Post article? If anything, it could easily make the case for HSAs. But it doesn't make the case for anything. There's some kind of vague implication that the pending health care bills would fix rising premiums. But it's such a weak article that it's surprising anyone would actually post a link to it.

 
At 3/05/2010 8:41 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Only works as long as you have the cash incoming. It also leads to lower quality that is always around with lower prices. Finally, going to other countries for medical care also makes malpractice a lot easier(due to a general lack of safety/health/privacy regulations).

Legal reform that doesn't just make malpractice affordable to do is fine.

Once the cash is gone, the HSA is then made useless.

If you don't mind Russian Roulette, fine. Get your HSA, go to that Third World country and gamble. Just don't use the market to force me to do the same.

 
At 3/05/2010 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no sethstorm, you want taxpayers to take care of you--as usual.

 
At 3/06/2010 3:20 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


no sethstorm, you want taxpayers to take care of you--as usual.

If there are those taxpayers who wish to act as a roadblock to others' self-sufficiency by withholding work, what is the rational action?

That is, if there are people who can afford to wait it out, it seems disingenuous to complain about the "freeloaders" that can't afford such political maneuvering.

 
At 3/06/2010 2:42 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Obloodyhell and others: The use of Obama is fine grammatically even if it is a bit informal. Mr. Obama is incorrect grammatically if you decide to use a title. That's not a whole lot different than using "it's" for its or "there" for they’re.

This blog has a prevalent grammar perspective, so let's try to follow the rules, or cut some slack on the other folks’ grammar usage.

BTW Obloodyhell: I am pretty sure proper protocol does not allow referring to where others' heads are stuck.

 
At 3/06/2010 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QA,

Man, you're funny! The Huff posts a study done by Goldman Sachs, and you blow it off as liberal fluff! Yeah, I guess Goldman must be part of the "liberal elite media" too, huh? It's a good thing we have a good, strong liberal media in this country that questioned the existence of WMDs in Iraq, and prevented us from engaging in a costly and unnecessary war in Iraq - right?

Well anywho, since you have the perfect moxy of gullible ignorance mixed with an innocent childlike trust in health insurance executives, I'd say you're just the candidate we need to prove the stalwart dependability of HSAs in the time of terminal illness. Yup, in the event of cancer, one shouldn't need a financially wealthy insurance company to cover costs; I'm sure you're willing to put your fate and your family's (if you have one) financial stability in the hands of an HSA.

 
At 3/06/2010 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well, my HSA has got me covered in the event of cancer or a terminal illness. But I don't think that anything can cure your cluelessness."

Well, sweet. Work hard and make that maximum $5,000-something contribution per year, and see how far it conquers a six-figure cancer treatment bill. I'm sure glad somebody is willing to sacrifice their cash for Stephen Hemsley's $124 million compensation, because I sure haven't been. You might as well write him a check for a few more bones, because according to this weird logic, by you having less money, you'll somehow overcome cancer weeks earlier when Stephen buys another six-figure Bentley.

 
At 3/08/2010 10:23 AM, Blogger Class factotum said...

It also leads to lower quality that is always around with lower prices.

Yes, because long-distance service hasn't gotten any better as it has gotten cheaper. Home movies via video, DVD and blu-ray haven't gotten any better as they have gotten cheaper. Calculators have not gotten better as they have gotten cheaper. Cosmetic surgery and lasik have not gotten any better as they have gotten cheaper.

 
At 3/09/2010 10:15 AM, Blogger Christine said...

Want to get ideas for how you can take charge of your own health care costs? Check out Whatstherealcost.org.

 
At 3/22/2010 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that some do not understand what an HSA is and how it works. An HSA is available to those who enroll in a High Deductible Health Plan. Those who do are insured and do not rely only on the amount of money in their HSA. In my case, there is a $1,500 deductible and a total co-insurance limit of $5,000, including the deductible. Between $1,500 and $5,000, I pay 30%. For this coverage, I pay a monthly premium of $104. Of course, I contribute the maximum I can each year, tax deductible. For those of you who are saying, "Wait until you face a cancer diagnosis and then see how you like your policy", I was diagnosed with colon cancer in June, 2009 and am still under treatment. My converage for this catastrophic illness has been more than adequate. I have paid $6,248 out of pocket for 2009 and will pay the same in 2010. My bills are well into 6 figures. The balance has been paid by my insurance.

 

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