Friday, February 17, 2006

Mr. Bush's fantastical HSA

"DUBLIN, Ohio, Feb. 15 — President Bush campaigned for his plan to expand health savings accounts on Wednesday here at the headquarters of the Wendy's fast-food chain, declaring that his proposals were not just for the wealthy and would help some of the 45 million Americans who remain uninsured.

In an hourlong speech in one of the most politically troublesome states for Republicans in this year's midterm elections, Mr. Bush took on critics of his plan, who say that poor or underemployed people cannot afford the accounts.

"It's kind of basically saying, 'If you're not making a lot of money, you can't make decisions for yourself,' " Mr. Bush told Wendy's employees assembled in the company's lobby. "That's kind of a Washington attitude, isn't it. 'We'll decide for you, you can't figure it out yourself.' I think a lot of folks here at Wendy's would argue that point of view is just simply backwards and not true."

Under current law, people can open health savings accounts only if they first enroll in high-deductible health insurance plans to cover catastrophic costs, which require an individual to pay at least the first $1,050 of annual medical bills..."

Don't people at Wendy's tend to make minimum wage? I'm trying to figure out how any of them could fund an HSA...

Maybe I'm missing something. Those of us in practice in the field are often accused of misunderstanding the issues.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of studies have come out saying a substantial percentage of people who are enrolling in HSAs were previously uninsured.

However, I'm with you. I can't imagine someone living from paycheck to paycheck is able to put money into an HSA. My guess is that the numbers are referring to people purchasing HDHPs and who are eligible to open an HSA. Not necessarily people who are actually putting money into an HSA.

Now if the employer contributes to the HSA, that's an entirely different matter.

6:24 PM  
Blogger mary said...

Employers contributing to the HSA, so people could use the money with their HDHPs (Hi-deductible health plans)? Might work for some, I can see that.

I still can't see it yet for people at the poverty level. Heck, I can't even see how they are going to pay the co-payments Bush seems so intent on. Some of the kids I care coordinate for (um, that is very awkward English...) have five or six routine doctor visits a month.

All copayments will do is keep these kids from getting the routine medical care they need to remain stable. Sure, increasing copayments will lead to decreased utilization...but it will do this across the board, for those who overutilize as well as those who absolutely depend on frequent utilization.

I see we're off on another Medicaid tangent (or at least, I am!).


7:28 PM  

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