January 25, 2006
WHY WE NEED 60:
New Tax Breaks for Medical Expenses: Bush to Propose Wider Deductions (Amy Goldstein, 1/25/06, Washington Post)
The new tax breaks for personal health spending, to be included in the 2007 budget Bush will release in less than two weeks, are designed to help the uninsured and to allow people with insurance to write off a greater portion of the money they spend on co-payments, deductibles and care that is not covered. Under current tax rules, people can deduct medical expenses only if they exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income.
The president also plans to call for an expansion of health savings accounts, an idea long favored by conservatives and approved by Congress slightly more than two years ago, in which people who buy bare-bones insurance policies are allowed to put money into tax-free accounts for their medical expenses.
In addition, Bush intends to propose changes to allow people to keep their insurance, without extra cost, if they change jobs or decide to start a business, building on a decade-old law that was designed to make health coverage more "portable."
The three proposals -- and possibly others -- are part of a renewed effort by the White House to tackle medical costs, a theme that administration officials said yesterday Bush intends to emphasize in his State of the Union address next week. The health initiative also represents one of the few areas in which the president will try to create new domestic policies through what he and aides have said will be an austere budget.
The Left in Australia and the Right in Britain have largely reconciled themselves to Third Way realities, as Newt Gingrich's GOP had under Bill Clinton, and have supported such government reforms that benefit the nation even if it means their opponents will get the credit, as Clinton does for Welfare Reform. Sadly, there are no New Democrats anymore, so the GOP will need a filibuster-proof Senate to pass these measures and SS Reform.
Business likes Bush’s healthcare hints (Jeffrey Young, 1/25/06, The Hill)
Big business interests are prepared to back up President Bush’s expected call to make healthcare legislation a priority in the coming legislative year.Posted by Orrin Judd at January 25, 2006 8:19 AM
Facing escalating costs and aging populations of workers and retirees, large employers are seeking policies that would enable them to limit their future healthcare spending while allowing them to avoid dropping expensive health benefits altogether. The small-business community also favors legislation that would make it less pricey to provide employees health coverage.