Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Somebody get me a nurse!

The lovely and talented Thom Hartmann got me started thinking about this, and I think he's right. From John McSame's web site:
Reform the tax code to eliminate the bias toward employer-sponsored health insurance, and provide all individuals with a $2,500 tax credit ($5,000 for families) to increase incentives for insurance coverage. Individuals owning innovative multi-year policies that cost less than the full credit can deposit remainder in expanded health savings accounts.

Eliminating the "bias toward employer-sponsored" can mean only one thing: eliminating the tax deduction for employers who provide health insurance. If that happens, exactly .2 nanoseconds later all employers will stop providing health insurance. None of them provide health insurance out of altruism, or even the progressive thought that healthy employees are better workers. Nope, no tax deduction, no insurance.

A caller to Thom's show disagreed, saying that the McCain idea was to steer people toward other health insurance providers. Maybe, but nowhere on McCain's site does it say that. So that's just wrong.

And a $5000 tax credit? Swell. That's about what my insurance alone costs.
But a "tax credit" means that I still have to spend the money first. And most of the "tax write-offs" I have calculated over the years, realize from 50% to 66% of their value, not 100%. But heck, I'm not an accountant so what do I know.

And WTF does "innovative multi-year policies" mean? Any health insurance I've ever dealt with was month-to-month.

And finally, "health savings accounts", that old chestnut thrown around by those who don't want you to have any actual insurance. Terrible idea. Why? Here's an example" How much can you afford to deposit into one? $100/mo? Total of $1200/year? Or can you do twice that, for $2400/year? Or maybe, if you have no actual insurance, $500/mo, for $6000/year. Should leave you feeling pretty safe, right?

I had to have a colonoscopy last November. Because of a confusion in billing, the 3rd party clinic that did the test for Kaiser sent me the bill initially: $6000. Were I covered by an HSA only, that would have wiped it out, and any other testing ot treatment would have been out of pocket for me. Insurance companies love HSAs, because the charge fees for administrating them, but incur almost no risk.

It's a lot like getting health care from a pawn shop after hocking Grandma's diamond ring.

McCain's policies are delusional.