Tag Archive: HEALTHCARE


Today my wife had to have outpatient surgery so we arrived at 11:00 o’clock as instructed.  She does have health insurance through her employer and has $500 remaining on her deductible and the hospital had told her on the phone this would need to be paid at registration!!  Now I thought this was crap as even thought she has a deductible and the money was owed we were basically paying for a service that had not been rendered and what if we were not satisfied!!

So in order to let her go ahead and have the procedure and get it over with we put it on the credit card and trust me the service we were provided at the beginning of the day was less than stellar. By the time they had us running from one end of the hospital to the other the surgery was 2 hours late!!  It was obvious if one knew what the other was doing all of this would have occurred on time.  And another thing about having to pay this $500 dollars today is the fact that we have insurance and “work” which is made known to the provider. Rest assured if an illegal walked through the door or somebody with no money I bet they would get treatment and not hassled over $500 as soon as you walk through the door!!

I have never been an advocate of government-run healthcare but because of what I describe above it will most certainly happen.  The illegals and the poor are getting healthcare whether they can pay or not and the folks like us that have insurance are paying out of our pocket or through higher insurance premiums.   So I say go ahead and give these people their healthcare and charge me one premium so every time I go the doctor or hospital I don’t have to pre-pay for services and then be disappointed in the result!

 

I have made several posts on the new healthcare bill and how much it will really cost the working people.  Well as I suspected the realities of what I an others have been saying in terms of an increase in premiums is happening as I type this post and it has happened to our family so that makes me an expert as of today to post about it.  My wife received her healthcare booklet with the different plans she can choose from and the plan she has now has increased 120%…. and to make sure I am clear, yes it has gone up 120%!!  Now, let me say she is in the single plan so the dollar increase is not that significant but in this economy any extra dollars out the door hurt the wallet. We did not choose the couple plan because the premiums have always been large but we figured from last year to this year the couple premium has increased 25%.

As stated previously there needed to be some kind of healthcare reform but my issue with this particular program was the cost and how it was going to be paid for.  Common sense alone would tell anyone that nothing is free and these insurance companies are not going to give out free insurance so guess what?? The people who pay health insurance premiums are going to pay for it.

There could also be an another motive for this.  I do not believe the President and his advisors are stupid people.  In fact, I believe them to be very intelligent and know exactly what they are doing.  I submit they knew all along these premium increases would happen and counted on it so the American people would be upset by this and then the government could say “why don’t you just come over to the government plan, it will be cheaper and better for you than the private sector” and because of the high premiums Americans will have no other choice but to do so. This way the government can say they didn’t force us into, but got us in through the backdoor and locked it!!

Finally, just so you know I did not just blog about this. I call my Congressman, Senator and the White House to let them know about the premium increase.   My health insurance renewal is coming up so I will keep you posted.

As we move down the road since the passage of Healthcare reform the “slow trickle” of information begins to come out on how healthcare for everyone is going to be paid for and as expected it will be paid for on the backs of working Americans.  New information has just been released that says “over the counter medications can no longer be used under a Flexible Spending Account unless there is a prescription from a doctor”. The new requirements take effect in January 2011 and the IRS has spelled out what needs to be done to meet the requirements.  If you have not guessed already and what some of us knew would happen this change is being made to raise revenue and help pay for premiums of the lower-income uninsured.

Now we know why 17,000 additional IRS agents are being hired, so they can make sure “working Americans” hand over their money to pay for all of this!!  The FSA benefited working people by helping them pay for prescriptions, office visits and over the counter medication and this are slowly being taken away!  We hear our government say “we will tax the rich” to pay for all of this.  Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are not enough “rich people” to pay for all of this and the plan all along was to have the working people pay for this.  The government has to get revenue from somewhere and the hiring of all these IRS agents is to make sure they get it!  Our only hope is the ballot box so I urge you to continue to vote out the current politicians in office and do this in every election until they get the point that we are all fed up and not going to take this anymore!!  I have linked to the article below.
http://www.workforce.com/section/news/article/irs-says-flexible-spending-accounts-cant-reimburse-otc-drugs.php

I have made several posts on the healthcare bill and the taxes that will be levied on the “Working American People” that will raised in order to pay for it.  I have also mentioned  the   general increases in taxes that will need to be raised to help reduce the National Debt!  I have come across two articles that state “Muslims excused from Obama care”.   I have copied the provision below from the Senate and House Bills these articles discuss:

EXEMPTIONS FROM INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

In the case of an individual seeking exemption based on the individual’s status as a
member of an exempt religious sect or division, as a member of a health care sharing ministry, as an Indian,

or as an individual eligible for a hardship exemption, such information as the Secretary shall prescribe.”

Senate Bill, H.R. 3590, pages 273-274

The articles say that according to “various Muslim fatwas they forbid Muslim participation in any sort of healthcare or insurance risk”.  To muslims insurance is considered gambling because it is based on ambiguity.  Obviously, this provision could be applied to other religious groups and not just muslims but I did not want to focus on one group on my blog.  My issue is ” if something like healthcare is so important why start trying to exempt certain groups from participating?”  Because rest assured if certain groups are granted the right not to participate then they will not have to pay any fines are premiums for this but will want to get the benefits of “Obama care”.

These are the types of issues that concerned me when the healthcare bill was passed.  Not the part about pre-existing conditions, covering children up to 24 years old,etc…. But, obscure provisions like this that is a moving target and if any decisions are made in regard to this provision if will be made in favor of the decider which will be the “bloated bureaucracy” that will make all of our healthcare decisions. Once the healthcare provision is entrenched in our society we will be subject to these provisions with no choice but to accept them.

The American People must remain vigilant and stay alert to what is going on so when these “issues pop up” we all can become informed and let our government know we want change.  This is why the American People were not told ahead of time what was in the healthcare bill because if we  knew what is in store for us there is no way this bill would have passed in its present form.  In closing my title refers to the fact that if this healthcare bill stays in its present form then all Americans should participate. Let’s don’t start exempting certain groups right off that bat!!

I have borrowed my title from Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Presidential debate with Jimmy Carter in which he posed this question to the American people. I remember watching that debate and I reflect on that statement now with the current state of this nation as well as my own.  I have linked to an article that some of the healthcare provisions kicked with some that are helpful such as lifetime benefits and not being denied for a pre-existing condition.  However, it is also noted that this will entail a 6% increase in cost to employers and we all know who will end up paying for this increase don’t we??

President Obama had said during the campaign he would not raise taxes on the people making less than $250,000.00 a year but this statement turned out to be nothing more that “smoke and mirrors”. What about the tax on tanning beds that just went into effect, or what about the money I am paying back right in payroll taxes for the so-called “stimulus” we got last year.  If you don’t think your taxes are going to increase then why is the government going to hire and additional 17,000 new IRS agents to enforce the Health Care Legislation?? They are coming for more of your money and I as for me I don’t have anymore to give.  Looks like I will be without any raise in salary again this years (and I am working more hours), my wife is going to be furloughed for 6 days next years which is about a 2.3% cut in pay!!

So I pose the questions “Are you better off than you were four years ago”?   Send a message in the November election and put a halt to this continued stealing of our money, because eventually no one will have enough money to buy anything in this country.   I have also posted a link about the hiring of 17,000 IRS agents.

I periodically post about the amount we pay in taxes and the increases that are headed our way to pay for all this government spending.  With the passage of the healthcare bill we are certain to pay more taxes because this is the only way to pay for it and I have said previously that we as the American people were not told up front what was in this bill because the rage would be even worse than it is now.  As we track down the road for full implementation of the healthcare bill I have discovered another tidbit in the bill that could affect a lot of the Americans with a higher tax bill.

I have copied a portion of HR3590 (section 90020) which states the following:

“Title IX: Revenue Provisions – Subtitle A: Revenue Offset Provisions – (Sec. 9001, as modified by section 10901) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to impose an excise tax of 40% of the excess benefit from certain high cost employer-sponsored health coverage. Deems any amount which exceeds payment of $8,500 for an employee self-only coverage plan and $23,000 for employees with other than self-only coverage (family plans) as an excess benefit. Increases such amounts for certain retirees and employees who are engaged in high-risk professions (e.g., law enforcement officers, emergency medical first responders, or longshore workers). Imposes a penalty on employers and coverage providers for failure to calculate the proper amount of an excess benefit.

(Sec. 9002) Requires employers to include in the W-2 form of each employee the aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored group health coverage that is excludable from the employee’s gross income (excluding the value of contributions to flexible spending arrangements).”

Take a look at the provision sec 9002 that requires employers to include on the w-2 the employer sponsored health coverage!!  This is what I have been talking about and what is about to happen to the working people of this country!! This provision was put here on purpose because the tax on your health coverage will be so great that it will force all of us into the government plan because we will or cannot afford the higher taxes!!  I continue to implore you to vote out the incumbent and elect someone else!! If you are not registered to vote then do so and vote for someone new!!  I get tired of my money being stolen from me and given to the government or people who do not want to work.  Eventually, we will have given all the money we have and it will not be enough to continue down this road!! Just look and Europe and Greece as an example!!

I have mentioned before about the healthcare bill just passed by Congress and the little “tid bits” we would find out about later on that would not make our healthcare cheaper in the long run for most of us and wanted to share what I have recently found out.  The insurance rep for my wife’s employer has told her about several changes that will affect the working person. 1) Any money that remains in your Flexible Spending Account cannot be used for over the counter medications.  I know at the end of the year if there is money remaining in the account and instead if losing it we would go spend it on over the counter meds to keep this from happening.  2) The second issue has to do with Health Savings Accounts (HSA). In this type of account money is placed in before taxes are taken from your pay check this helps reduce your tax burden just like a 401k.  According to the new requirements any amount contributed over $2,500.00 to the HSA cannot be deducted from taxes!!  Apparently these new requirements are a result of the healthcare bill that was passed by Congress and signed by the President.

I have stated previously these are things we will find out about in increments that will cost us all more money because all this has to be paid for some how.  And by the time we figure out about all the “incremental changes” that cost us more money it will be too late to change.  This is why I say to pay attention to the people you vote for because they usually tell you what they are going to do!!

I thought that I would be able to leave this subject with a prior post on taxes but new information keeps coming out that I have to post about.  With the passage of the healthcare bill all  of a sudden information is coming out that will say things like ” 10 things that will affect your tax bill” or similar statements like that.  So My question is: Why weren’t the 10 things that will affect my taxes told to me prior to the passage of this bill?? I will tell you why, because our government didn’t want us to know. We hear the sound bites of  “coverage for 32 million people, no pre-existing conditions, no life time max on the coverage. Don’t get me wrong these are good things, but I believe the true cost to all of us was covered up and now we are beginning to hear what the cost will truly be.

I have linked to an article that says starting in 2011 that businesses will have to include the value of their employees health plan on the w 2!! Think about how much this will raise your tax bill??  I can’t get my withholding less than zero or contribute anymore to my 401k to lower my taxes so guess what??  A lot of us will be writing a big check to the government and this is how all this stuff will get paid for.  This is why the government set it up to occur in the future so we would all forget about it and get wrapped up into what Tiger Woods, what somebody is doing in Hollywood or American Idol!! Like I said before about the passage of this bill that bothers me, is what will be done to all us when the bureaucrats start interpreting what has been passed by this Congress and signed by the President.

In the article, Health Care Reform: Tax Hikes on the Way, Joan Pryde lists 13 tax changes that could affect our tax bill:

“The new health care reform law is chock-full of new taxes and tax increases that will affect many individuals and businesses, but it will be years before most of these hikes take a bite out of your — or your company’s — wallet. The law also has tax breaks to help both individuals and small businesses pay for insurance.

Figuring out exactly what the new law’s impact will be on your finances will be tricky, not only because many of the effective dates are delayed, but also because the law signed by President Obama will most likely change very soon: After passing the Senate bill on March 21, the House also approved a package of modifications that the Senate plans to pass before the end of the month.


Take a look at what’s coming down the road, starting with provisions that take effect first:

1. A new 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services that takes effect for services provided after June 30, 2010.

2. Giving small firms tax credits as incentives to provide coverage, starting this year. Employers with 10 or fewer workers and average annual wages of less than $25,000 can receive a credit of up to 35% of their health premium costs each year through 2013. The credit is phased out for firms larger than that and disappears completely if a company has more than 25 employees or average annual wages of $50,000 or more. Beginning in 2014, small firms that sign up with one of the health exchanges to be created can receive a credit of up to 50% of their costs.

3. A requirement that businesses include the value of the health care benefits they provide to employees on W-2s, beginning with W-2s for 2011.

4. Elimination, after this year, of a deduction employers now take for providing Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage to their retirees to the extent that the federal government subsidizes the coverage. This will not take effect until 2013.

5. Doubling the penalty for nonqualified distributions from health savings accounts, to 20%, beginning in 2011.

6. A limit on the amount that employees can contribute to health care flexible spending accounts to $2,500 a year. Under the House package of changes, the cap won’t take effect until 2013.

7. A ban on using funds from flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement arrangements or health savings accounts for the cost of over-the-counter medications, starting in 2011.

8. Imposing a 0.9% Medicare surtax on wages of single taxpayers earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning over $250,000, starting in 2013. In addition, the House’s package of modifications would levy a special 3.8% Medicare tax on the unearned income of those taxpayers. The House defines unearned income as interest, dividends, capital gains, annuities, royalties and rents. Tax-exempt interest would not be included, nor would income from retirement accounts.

9. A hike in the 7.5% floor on itemized deductions for medical expenses to 10%, beginning in 2013. But taxpayers age 65 and over are exempt from the cutback through 2016.

10. A new 40% excise tax, beginning in 2013, on high-cost health plans, defined as those providing coverage in excess of $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families. The House’s package of modifications includes higher threshold amounts and an initial effective date of 2018.

11. A new tax on individuals who don’t obtain adequate health coverage by 2014. The tax is be phased in over three years, starting at the greater of $95, or 0.5% of income, in 2014, and rising to the greater of $750, or 2% of income, in 2016. The House passed companion measure would modify this provision so that a person without coverage in 2014 would pay the greater of $95, or 1% of income, and in 2016 would pay the greater of $695, or 2.5% of income.

12. Providing a refundable tax credit, once the individual mandate takes effect in 2014, to help low-income folks purchase coverage. To be eligible, a person’s household income must be between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, generally around $11,000 to $44,000 for singles and $22,000 to $88,000 for families.

13. A nondeductible fee charged to businesses with 50 or more employees if the firms fail to offer adequate coverage. The fee will equal $750 times the number of workers in the firm, and is slated to go into effect in 2014. The House’s package of modifications would increase that fee to $2,000 times the number of employees, though it would not count the first 30 workers in that calculation.”1

1(April 5, 2010, Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.)

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It appears likely the healthcare bill will pass the congress and be signed by the President.  Having people being able to access affordable healthcare is not the issue, but what else is in the 2000 page bill that is before congress; that is what we should all be worried about?  I looked at the bill on-line and it is so broad-based and wide open to interpretation that you can rest assured it will not be interpreted in out favor.  I don’t even think it will lower the cost for us. A congressman in the next district from me has even stated that he never claimed it would lower the cost, so my question would be “why then the hard sale to get it passed”.  The only conclusion could be possibly control over a big part of the economy and people.

As I mentioned before I want on up or down vote on this bill and not some political maneuvering. The Constitution states in Article I section VI that “Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively”.  If this bill is so popular then vote on it and have your name recorded!! I don’t think the Congress wants to because they are afraid of what will happen to them in the november election!!  I just read a story yesterday that says the government now wants to take over all student loans!!   I just don’t get where all the money will come from, I guess it will come from the middle class that can’t pay anymore than they do right now.

The final week for Congress to vote on the Healthcare Reform Bill is approaching.  As with any Big Government entitlement program all Americans should be concerned about the cost and the potential for more intrusion from the government in their lives. While the present bill may not be as comprehensive as the one proposed by the President earlier, any type of big program like this has the potential to reach into other areas of our personal lives.

One example of a government program that overreached its original intent is Social Security.  Back in the 1930′s President Roosevelt proposed the establishment of the social security program to provide an income to the elderly after retirement and help keep them out of poverty.  But look what happened over time as it went from a retirement program to giving money to people on disability, children with a deceased parent and so on.  While these are all good causes, Social Security was not set up for this.  Over time the U.S. Government could not refrain from tapping into the program’s financial resources, spending on entitlements other than those for which the funds were originally intended.  Thus today the program is facing a crisis in that will more than likely result in higher taxes.

The Government’s efforts to put forth a health care reform plan may lead to the same risks as those seen in big government entitlement programs. The Congress will pass it and then, as the years pass, it will grow many tentacles that are not anticipated today.  Years from now people will begin to realize that the plan has grown well beyond its original purpose and will ask, “How did they let that go through?” and yet it will be far too late to change its course.  Many could say the same thing today about the payroll tax:  “How did the people in 1913 allow the payroll tax to go through?”  When the payroll tax was adopted it was 1% of a worker’s wages, now look where it stands today.

Based on how government-funded programs have consistently exceeded their original intent over time, one must not assume that a healthcare reform plan passed today will be managed any differently.  It will reach much farther than anyone can imagine today.  And one other thing, rest assured the Congress will pull some political maneuver to pass the bill regardless of their constituents’ wishes in order to maintain their political control from Washington.  All Americans should request an up or down vote in Congress because we live in a ‘Representative Republic’ and thus have a right to representation.