I have too much health insurance now?


President Bush has got to be joking. Just when you think he can’t pull any more BS out of his backside, he comes up with yet another pile of it. Last night the President suggested that too many of us have health plans that are far more than is needed. I’d like to know what gave him that impression.

I work for a company that provides decent health care with very little collected from the employee in each check. Most people I talk to about my plan suggest it’s better than what they have. However, that said, you might recall that last February I broke my tibia while skiing and I’m still recovering nearly a year later. During this time I’ve laid out literally thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket cash to cover the bills. The plan still has not reimbursed me for the bills I accrued right there on the mountain! Add to this a pile of money we laid out for various aids and equipment and a surprising amount of money in uncovered rehab costs.

Now, based on the numbers I’ve seen and the valuation of our health care plan, it appears as if I’m going to have to pay tax on my health plan. This is our glorious leader’s idea of helping me out. Let me not have enough coverage to cover the costs and then charge me tax on that same plan.

My wife works for a company that offers an extremely basic, extremely limited plan (that we don’t take part in) and it costs just under the taxation numbers put forth in the President’s plan. That tells me pretty clearly that, once again, President Bush is looking to the middle class to once again foot the bill for his well-off friends and family. Just what sort of tax is he suggesting for cosmetic surgery?

This guy just needs to go. His advisor’s are actually trying to suggest that offering a tax break will allow millions to buy insurance that can’t now. Just how many people do you know of that can wait until tax time to get a refund and then take that money and spend it on a health plan? Also, what health plans allow you to pay once? Since nearly all of them require ongoing monthly payments, just how many people will get the insurance only to have to let it lapse a few months later? I guess President Bush hopes cancer patients get diagnosed during those early months and go into remission before the cash runs out.

The end result of this setup, if it passes, and I suspect it won’t, is that many employers will choose to drop health care entirely. Furthermore the average health plan today offered by employers for a family costs $11,800. Remember, that’s the average. Since when has the average health plan been considered good enough? You’ll get a tax break of $3,200 which means you’ll get an extra couple of hundred bucks, at best, in your return. Just how much supplemental insurance do you think that will cover? My work plan costs nearly double that. Thus, I’ll end up having to claim an extra $6,000 in income. Sign me up!

The proponents of the plan have actually said things like, “This approach will encourage employers to offer less-generous insurance plans.” They see this as a big benefit. Yep, every single day I run into people who tell me their insurance plans are bloated to the point of excess. Can someone please point me to these plans so I can suggest them to my employer?

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  1. Actually, the tax exempt status of health insurance, at it’s inception, was the beginning of the medical care cost explosion we have today. In my youth, few people had any health insurance, and few people needed it. We paid out own bills. When it became an item that you could get without paying income tax on it, employers started adding it to their employment packages. As soon as people had insurance, they started overusing health care. Going to the emergency room for a sore throat, etc. Then, because nobody really cared what a prcedure cost any more, the prices started going up. The more they charged, the more people thought that doctors were villans. The madder people got at doctors, the more jurys were willing to screw them on malpractice judgements. Malpractice insurance skyrocketed, and so did the cost of medical care. As for myself, I pay my own medical bills. Would a broken tibia amount to a financial impact on my life? You bet it would. For that reason, I don’t engage in sports likely to make that happen, and if it does happen, I promise I won’t blame George Bush because I did something risky and got hurt. If you can’t afford to get hurt, don’t go skiing…DUH!

  2. I suspect the rise in malpractice lawsuits probably scales fairly parallel to the rise in health care costs. Every doctor I speak with talks about how outrageous that is.

    As far as few people needing it then, I can’t really speak to that except to say that people were dying of some pretty simple things back then. People didn’t live as long either.

    I also can’t believe your final argument. Where am I blaming George Bush because I broke my leg? Go read my blog entry on the experience. I had a wonderful experience with the dreaded socialized medicine approach up in Canada that I suspect your abhor.

    By the way, I also have been injured walking down my front walk. Should I not leave my home? Life is risky.

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