Friday, August 14, 2009

Four Healthcare Plans...

Good morning, Gentle Readers,

Here's what I'm going to be doing today...

I will use the information I found from the Associated Press to Outline the four different plans. The only change I'm going to make is to change their names to A, B, C, D. There's no reason to choose a plan because the Democrats created it or to reject a plan because it is created by Republicans. What I want is for everyone who reads the plans, to comment on the one they like or comment on the ones you don't like. And, don't just say, that sucks. Be specific. I'd like to know which healthcare plan really resonants with my readers.

God Bless

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Healthcare Email From the White House...

I received an email from David Axelrod Senior Adviser to President Obama. He included 8 facts about the President's Healthcare Plan, as well as 8 myths. I am copying these 16 points, without any comment, into this blog. I want you to come to your own conclusions.

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage
1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.


8 common myths about health insurance reform

1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.


Okay, come to your own conclusions. Watch this space tomorrow. I'm posting summaries of the four plans. I found them at the Associated Press. Read them all and come to your own conclusions. Before the end of the weekend, I'll post my opinions.

God Bless

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    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Taxing Healthcare Benefits

    Okay, if you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that one of the three reasons I didn't vote for McCain was that he wanted to put a tax on my healthcare benefits. Yesterday, a co-worker of mine mentioned that he hoped I was happy now that Obama was going to start taxing healthcare benefits. I was more than a little stunned, especially since 1/3 of my reasons for voting for Obama was that he was against this idea. So, this morning, I have set out on a mission to see if I can find the justification for my co-worker's remark. I have found one article, but then my router went down and I discovered that my archives weren't working, so I haven't finished reading the article, but trust me, I will get to the bottom of this and I will be calling Feingold, Kohl and Ryan to let them know the taxing of healthcare benefits is wrong.
    One quick thought before I'm off:
    The
    article I'm reading states "The wealthy enjoy the biggest boon from the policy, with their better jobs and richer perks. Still, Obama and many lawmakers are reluctant to embrace a tax." Well, I don't think I would be considered among the wealthy of the country, so there might be hope. I wouldn't be opposed to paying taxes on the healthcare if, say, they had to earn a certain amount, like $100,000 for a single person and $200,000 for a married person -- that, my dear friends, would leave most of us out of it.
    Anyway, I would like to formulate a better thought on this, but I want to do my research -- just like I did when McCain first proposed this idea.
    Oh, I almost forgot, according to my co-worker, this taxing of healthcare is Hillary's idea and it was part of the "deal" she made with Obama last year. Where is that coming from? Anyone know?
    God Bless

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    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    McCain's Health Plan

    Right now I work for an employer that #1. Doesn't know how to get the best deal for their employees for healthcare and #2. would love it if they didn't have to provide health insurance for their 5,000 plus employees. I purchase the highest health plan and that means I pay more in premiums than some of my co-workers. I don't use the HSA, so I can have a better health plan and I do use the FSA. I don't have a lot of health issues. I do have asthma and thank goodness I haven't had to use my healthcare much because my healthcare plan sucks. Believe me, when I leave this job it will be for two reasons and one of them is the lousy insurance.

    I've heard of jobs where the pay is a little lower, but the benefits packages (tuition reimbursement, healthcare, etc.) are excellent. These positions have made me stop and think about whether I would jump ship to gain better benefits, but not gain much more in money.

    Let me say this: I don't want the government supplying me with healthcare -- I want my employer subsdizing it. Right now, one of the few tax breaks I get is the pre-tax healthcare benefit for which I pay $84.49 per month or $1013.88 per year. Remember, this is completely tax free.

    McCain wants to take that little tax break away. According to
    CNN Money, the amount my employer pays "would become taxable income. But anyone who buys insurance would receive a refundable tax credit worth $2,500 per person ($5,000 per family). That's a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill, or, if you don't have a tax bill, a dollar-for-dollar increase in the amount of money Uncle Sam would send your way."

    Except it isn't. Right now, my employer pays $276.82 per month or $3321.84 per year. Under McCain's plan, I'll be taxed on that amount. So, I won't get the out of pocket pre-tax break and now my income will look like it has gone up and I'll be paying even more in taxes. But, McCain gets to tell you that he's offering you a tax break. Let's take a look at that.

    McCain wants to give a single person a tax credit (and by the way, there's a difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit. A tax credit reduces what you owe and a tax deduction reduces the amount on which you pay) a total of $2,500. So, if I purchase the insurance I have now, it will cost me $4335.72 -- because the tax break is only for those people who buy their own insurance. The government will be giving me $2500 back, bringing my grand total to $1835.72, which is not only $821.84 more than I pay out of pocket now, but it's all taxed, which adds to the amount that I give back to the government.

    Let's just see how much more someone who makes $50,000 a year will pay our government and for health insurance.

    I'm using last year's
    tax tables and I'm going to make the assumption that I'm still allowed to put tax free money into flexiben, which'll keep some figures the same. I'm, also, assuming that I can even purchase the insurance and maintain at least the same coverage for the same price as my employer, but we know that won't be true. Also, keep in mind, your salary goes up on your Federal form, it goes up on your state form. (And, yeah, I know, some states don't have income tax. Bully for you.)

    Under the current system, taking off the $1,013.88 for current healthcare costs and $2,500 for Flexiben a single person's taxable income (with no deductions, but the
    standard) is $41,136.12. The tax amount is $6,705.00. That comes to 16.29% for Federal Tax. And, I've only paid $1,013.88 for healthcare.

    Now, the new system:
    $50,000.00 salary
    $ 2,500.00 flexiben
    $ 5,350.00 standard deduction
    $42,150.00 taxable income

    $6,955.00 taxable amount

    My tax amount is now $250.00 higher under the new system. I'm now taxed at the higher amount of 16.50%. Oh, wait, I did forget to take the tax credit off.

    Okay, now, I'm paying $4,455.00 in Federal income tax. That's a lowering of my taxes by just under 6%. Hey, that sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

    Except my state income tax rate is 6.5%. Under the old system, I report $41,136.12 in income and I'm taxed: $2,673.84. Under the new system, I report $42,150.00 in income and I'm taxed: $2,739.75. A difference of $65.91. So, now, I've paid more in taxes -- not much more, but still more AND I've paid more for my insurance coverage: $821.84 more.

    And, what did I get for it? $821.84 could pay for a new laptop or pay for a gifts for my grandsons. Maybe, I might give that money to charity.

    But, who benefits?

    My employer. They now get to save $3321.84 and if you think they'll pass that savings on to me in the form of a raise -- think again. It goes in their pocket. Multiply that by 5,000 employees and they've saved $16,609,200.00. It isn't going to be in the employees' pockets -- I can guarntee you that. Some companies might be willing to pass the savings along, but most won't and you know they won't.

    You know who else benefits?

    The insurance companies. They can then charge me more for insurance because I'm no longer a part of a group.

    You know who won't benefit?

    American workers. They'll have even less in their pockets than they do now. According to McCain, that'll be a good thing. But, then, the Republicans are acting like our country is chugging along just fine and we don't need to fix it. Life is good. And, if you think the economy is bad, you have a mental condition.

    Someone recently called me a single issue voter, but I'm not. I have loads of reasons for no longer backing McCain. His ideas are not good for me. Ask yourself, are they going to be good for you?

    God Bless


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