Florida Health Savings Account Plans Question & Answers
Do you believe that In Wisconsin Democracy is on the Line?
Is Dick right?
By Dick Morris February 21, 2011
Democracy is on the line in the streets of Madison, Wisconsin. Will the popularly elected state legislature and governor (both now Republican for the first time in forever) get to run the state or will the union thugocracy, now crowding the streets, prevail?
The spectacle of Democratic legislators hiding out in the woods to avoid creating a quorum in their legislatures illustrates, more profoundly than anything else ever could, the extent to which we have lost control of our destiny and government to the public employee unions.
The teachers unions, the Service Employees, and AFSME have hijacked state government and are now holding them for ransom.
We are all citizens of Wisconsin now! Our freedom is on the line.
At last some real leaders are emerging within the Republican Party – the newly elected governors! Governors Chris Christie (NJ), Mitch Daniels (Ind), Scott Walker (Wisc) John Kasich (Ohio), Jim Corbett (Pa), Jan Brewer (Ariz), and Butch Otter (Idaho) are showing America how it is done.
The union mobs have taken to the streets in Wisconsin to protest hotly against having to pay 12.6% of their health insurance (the private sector average is 20%) and 5.8% of their pensions (private sector average is 7.5%). They want us to subsidize them so they can get to be richer than we are! Upward redistribution of income!
Governor Scott Walker, the courageous, young Republican just elected in Wisconsin also wants to limit teachers union bargaining to wages and benefits, but to leave work rules in the hands of school administrators. His ideas are vital to good schools but outrageous to the entrenched defenders of bad education in the teachers unions.
The most innovative governor in America – and also a likely GOP contender for president – is Bush’s former OMB director Mitch Daniels. He is pushing forward with an exciting bill for statewide choice in schools, limits on teacher collective bargaining, caps on salary increases, and tenure reform. He has already pioneered using Health Savings Accounts to reduce health insurance costs – voluntarily – for state workers.
In Tennessee, with no noticeable leadership from the Republican governor Bill Haslam, the GOP state legislature is taking matters into its own hands. Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Dolores Gresham and Representative Bill Dunn have taken the lead in pushing legislation to prohibit collective bargaining with teachers unions entirely. They are also planning moves to expand school choice. Their landmark bill has just been reported out of the Senate Committee and, with Republican majorities in both houses, is likely to become law.
In Idaho, a gutsy Education Commissioner (elected) Tom Luna had his car vandalized and his family got death threats for trying to expand the pool of teachers to include all college graduates so as not to be limited to the indoctrinated graduates of education schools.
In Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, bills to advance school choice and reform schools are advancing.
And then there are the cowards – Governor Rick Scott of Florida who electrified the state with his bold proposal for education vouchers for statewide school choice only to shelve the bill and abandon it when the going got tough. He was aided and abetted by State Senator Stephen Wise (R-Jacksonville) who acted like a RINO by surrendering to the unions and letting the voucher proposal die in his education committee.
But there are enough courageous and true conservatives out there to move the cause forward…rapidly!
Sarah Fields answers:
Yeah. Dick’s pretty much got it right. The union is nothing about democracy. Once again, the left in America is showing its colors. Another nail in the liberal coffin. 2012 is going to be a tough year for Democrats.
Are these some of the hidden ‘costs’ of Obamacare (per the Wall Street Journal?)?
Here are some of the groups on the menu if anything like the existing Senate or House health plans become law:
• Young people. If the government mandates that everyone must have health insurance, healthy young people will have to buy policies that don’t reflect the low risk they have of getting sick. The House and Senate bills do let insurers set premiums based on age, but only up to a 2-to-1 ratio, versus a real-world ratio of 5 to 1. This means lower prices for older (and wealthier) folks, but high prices for the young. “They’ll have sticker shock,” says Rep. Paul Ryan, ranking Republican on the Budget Committee.
• Small Businesses. Employers who don’t provide coverage will have to pay a tax up to 8% of their payroll. Yet those who do provide coverage also have to pay the tax—if the law says their coverage is not “adequate.” Amazingly, even if a small business provides adequate insurance but its employees choose coverage in another plan offered through the government, the employer still must pay.
• Health Savings Account (HSA) holders. Eight million Americans, according to the Treasury Department, are covered by plans with low-cost premiums and high deductibles that are designed for large, unexpected medical costs. Money is also set aside in a savings account to cover the deductibles, and whatever isn’t spent in one year can build up tax-free. Nearly a third of new HSA users, according to Treasury figures, previously had no insurance or bought coverage on their own.
These policies will be severely limited. The Senate plan says a policy deemed “acceptable” must have insurance (rather than the individual) pay out at least 76% of the benefits. The House plan is pegged at 70%. That’s not the way these plans are set up to work. Ray Ramthun, who implemented the HSA regulations at the Treasury Department in 2003, says the regulations are crippling. “Companies tell me they could be forced to take products off the market,” he said in an interview.
• Medicare Advantage users. Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats want to cut back this program—care provided by private companies and subsidized by the government. Medicare Advantage grew by 15% last year; 10.5 million seniors, or 22% of all Medicare patients, are now enrolled.
The program is especially popular with those in badly served urban areas and with those who can’t afford the premiums for Medicare supplemental (MediGap) policies. A total of 54% of Hispanics on Medicare have chosen Medicare Advantage, as have 40% of African-Americans, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services.
These plans tend to provide better coordinated and preventive care, and richer prescription drug coverage. But Democrats dislike Medicare Advantage’s private-sector nature, and they have some legitimate beefs with its unevenly generous reimbursement rates. This week Mr. Obama told the Washington Post that the program was “a prime example” of his efforts to cut Medicare spending, because he claims people “aren’t getting good value” from it.
That’s not what others say. In January, Oregon’s Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski wrote the Obama administration expressing his concern about its efforts “to scale back Medicare Advantage” because the plans “play an important role in providing affordable health coverage.” He noted that 39% of Oregon’s Medicare patients had chosen Medicare Advantage, and that in “some of our Medicare Advantage plans . . . with proper chronic disease management for such conditions as heart disease, asthma and diabetes, hospitalization admission rates have declined.”
The $156 billion in Medicare Advantage cuts over the next decade proposed by Mr. Obama will force many seniors to go back to traditional Medicare at greater expense. A new study for the Florida Association of Health Plans found that because Medicare Advantage plans have richer benefits and lower deductibles and copayments than traditional Medicare, seniors in that state would face dramatically higher payments if forced to give up their Medicare Advantage plans. Cost increases would range from $2,214 a year in Jacksonville to $3,714 a year in Miami.
There are reasons that Blue Dog Democrats in Congress are leery of their party’s health-care reform plans. Many are in districts or states carried by John McCain, and they worry about the political fallout when these groups realize they will be paying for health-care reform.
They also know that every government entitlement winds up becoming a money pit. In 1965, Sen. Allen Ellender (D., La.) dismissed promises that Medicare would be a modest program to save seniors from bankruptcy. “Let us not be so naïve as to believe that the Medicare program will not be increased from year to year to the point that the government will have to impose more taxes on the little man or else take the necessary money out of the Treasury,” he told colleagues.
Ellender was right, and
Ellender was right, and his warning is even more relevant in our era of skyrocketing deficits and Medicare costs. The only way the House and Senate health plans can pass is if the costs they impose on vulnerable parts of the population continue to be hidden.
What do you think?
Sarah Fields answers:
I find it hard to believe this is about Health Care at all. The word “mandatory” is always frightening.
To force young, healthy people to pay for health insurance, and let the old and infirm die because of cost sounds like Taxation without benefit.
One could argue this is how they plan to recoup the entirety of the Social Security money that has already been squandered away.
Robbing (Peter/Paul) thing. Pyramid scheme.
There are always hidden (from you) costs.
What “anything” done, in progress, or future thing, performed by the government ever came in on time and at/or under budget?
How many times is this scam going to work on the majority of us. Apparently, just one more, because after this one … It will be all the money there is forever, and you still wont get a pittance of worth.
Any addition or including of INSURANCE Co’s will double the cost, and for what? Payback for campaign contributions?
Dead weight, and the straw that breaks the back.
So what do you think about deficit reduction via “The?
Zombie Program”? The ethics and moral platform of this administration seems to have no limit as to how low it can sink. Obama has a Long Term health care plan that’s part of his Obamacare program. However, as was reported today in the “The Ledger” ( Central Florida ) the program has NOT been implemented in any way due to the belief that, as written, the program would go Bust in a very short period of time due to expenses overwhelming funding. HOWEVER ( and this is a big however ), monthly premiums the government may never collect are being counted as reducing the federal deficit!! Real of not, this “Zombie” reduction equates to $80 Billion over 10 years! This is a large part of the Health Care savings that Obama stated would make the health care package “Budget Neutral”. I assume there will be people who will say, Obama didn’t know. Do you believe that? Especially since this reduction accounted for much of the proposed deficit reduction in the plan. Do you think, now that this scam has gone public, SOMEONE in the administration will step up and take responsibility for this national scandal? And how about the accounting associated with the bill? Is someone going to correct the bill to show it WON’T save anything but WILL end up costing at least $80 billion in uncollected revenue? How many more scandals do we need to finally wake up people who still support such deceit?
Sarah Fields answers:
It sounds like you don’t know what this “Zombie program” is. I am up with the news, and I never heard of it. Perhaps you should stop hyperventilating long enough to give us a link to a valid news source. .
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