Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why Not Tax Credits and HSAs for All and Vouchers for Vets?

You see things and you say,”Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950). Back to Methuselah (1921)

As questions about the future of ObamaCare and the Veterans Administration  swirl about us,  these questions spring to mind.

·         Why not tax credits for health care expenditures for all?  Already employers get tax credits.   Why not tax credits for self-employed individuals too?   That would only be fair, and America is a fair-minded place.  It would be understandable, and the principle problem of ObamaCare  is its overwhelming complexity.  Let us clear the deck of complex rules that few understand and bewilder most of us.

·         Why not health savings accounts for all?   Doctor Ben Carson, the Johns Hopkins retired pediatric neurosurgeon,  says health savings accounts ought to be a birthright  passed on from one generation to the next. 

And as Peter Ferrara, director of entitlement and budget policy for the Heartland Instiutute, observed in a recent article:

    America’s veterans now would do far better participating in this same private health care system, along with everyone else. That can be achieved by dividing up the VA budget in equal shares for every veteran, and freeing them to use those sums to help purchase the private health insurance of their choice. That would include Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which maximize the freedom of control and choice by patients over their own health care, and their own health care dollars. Such HSAs are also the only health policy innovation that have proven to control health costs in the real world, without a third party empowered to deny health care to the patient.” (“Transform VA into a Pro-Growth Model for First-Rate Health Care?” Forbes, May 25, 2014). ‘

  Ferrara adds that health savings accounts ought to be extended to Medicaid recipients as well.

 ·   And why not, as a solution to the vexing problem  of veterans stuck  for months on VA waiting lists, offer them vouchers to use to obtain care from physicians and hospitals in the private sector?   This would give immediate relief to those veterans with deadly illnesses that might kill them.  And there is a precedent.  The VA already spends $4.8 billion,  10% of its budget,  for private care. The VA is responding to suggestions it expand access to private facilities (  Kaiser Health News, "VA Says Vets May Get Care at Private Facilities," May 27, 2014).

Tweet:   Why not offer tax credits and health savings accounts to all citizens and vouchers for private care to veterans stuck on the VA waiting lists?

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