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January 26, 2006

HSAs- More Giveaways to Rich

This NY Times article highlights that Health Savings Acounts, Bush's supposedly big push in his State of the Union speech, have only two purposes: helping employers off-load insurance responsibilities onto individuals and helping rich folks hide more income from taxes. Take the typical big winner highlighted in the story:

Eric Kok, 32, a printing and packaging company manager in Lancaster, Pa., says he will put part of his pay this year into a tax-free health savings account. "Because I'm young, I'm still maxing out my 401(k)," he said of his retirement plan at the Banta Corporation. He calls that Step 1. "Step 2 is opening a health savings account and trying to put as much into it as possible."

He and his wife, Susan, who has her own insurance from her employer, together have a six-figure income. Mr. Kok said that when he retires, he can use the health savings tax-free for care and for premiums in the company's retiree health plan. If he dies with a balance in the account, his survivors can inherit the money, as with a 401(k) account.

It's just more and more of the same old giveaways to the wealthy, expanding the deficit without doing a damn thing to reform the health care system or expand access for those who actually need it.

Posted by Nathan at January 26, 2006 08:58 AM