January 27, 2005

LEADING THE CAMEL FURTHER INTO THE TENT:

Bush Promotes Health Savings Accounts: He Says Plan Would Cut Insurance Costs and Increase Patient Responsibility (Michael A. Fletcher, January 27, 2005, Washington Post)

President Bush laid out a plan yesterday for reducing the nation's spiraling health care costs, proposing tax credits to encourage expansion of health savings accounts and calling for allowing small businesses to pool together for health coverage across state lines.

Speaking before an audience that included Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Bush said market forces hold the key to moderating the cost of health insurance, which is strangling many working families and small businesses, resulting in 45 million Americans going uninsured.

The main element of Bush's plan would be health savings accounts, which allow people to save money tax-free. The accounts are used for medical expenses up to a preset deductible amount, and once that threshold is met, insurance takes over. Any money not used can roll over from one year to the next, and the cost of the policies is usually lower than that of traditional health insurance plans.

"Health savings accounts all aim at empowering people to make decisions for themselves, owning their own health care plan, and at the same time bringing some demand control into the cost of heath care," Bush said. "Our view is that if you're a consumer of health care and you're in the marketplace making health care decisions, it is more likely that there [would] be more cost control in health care than a system in which the consumer of health care has his or her health care bills paid by a third-party provider."


The key to Medicare reform was sneaking through HSA's, which can now become an increasingly important aspect of American health care.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 27, 2005 7:17 AM
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