Tags: healthcare | reform | tax cuts jobs act | trump

Healthcare Reform Is the Icing on the Tax Bill Cake

Healthcare Reform Is the Icing on the Tax Bill Cake
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Wednesday, 10 January 2018 02:55 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is signed into law, there’s a lot of talk about what’s next on the president’s agenda. Some are saying infrastructure, others are saying we’ll see entitlement reform, and some are saying we’ll see a focus on immigration reform. These are all important issues to be addressed, but the issue that deserves to be revisited is healthcare. This is because it has the most potential to help the American people and is something that truly needs the attention of our representatives and the president. In this article, I’ll explain some of the momentum healthcare already has this year and some suggestions that could be implemented in upcoming legislation.

First, the president has already started on healthcare. Last Thursday, the administration proposed new rules that would expand association health plans, which is huge for independent professionals and employees of small companies that do not offer health insurance. It would effectively allow professionals and employees of small companies to negotiate with insurance companies as a group, rather than as individuals. This would allow many individuals that are in the Obamacare markets to purchase insurance that isn’t subject to Obamacare standards, which are significantly cheaper. Many people that are in the individual market may transfer over to these association plans. This, on top of the individual mandate repeal, would starve the individual market. Together, these two factors are set to send the individual marketplace into a death spiral that will force attention from the legislature. It may even get some Democrats on board for a repeal of Obamacare in favor of replacing it with something that works. That circumstance would be very valuable considering the GOP has one fewer vote in the Senate. Strategically, this is a great position for the president to be in concerning healthcare reform.

This is a good start to healthcare for the year, and there is a lot of potential for other measures that could solve many of the issues our healthcare system sees today.

For example, one area that ought to be expanded is Health Savings Accounts (HSA). HSAs essentially allow you to take pre-tax earnings and place them into an account meant for medical expenses. Imagine being able to pay your entire deductible with pre-tax dollars.

Another area that desperately needs to be addressed is the cost of prescription drugs. It’s something that everyone knows is an issue, but we rarely hear about it when discussing policy. One policy implementation that could significantly reduce the price of drugs would be a favorable interest clause. The exact wording of the clause can be developed, but it would mainly be a requirement that prescription drugs sold in America are sold at the lowest price they are sold globally. This would ensure that prescription drug users in America are not subsidizing the costs of drugs in other countries.

Finally, there needs to be some form of pre-existing condition provision to give those with pre-existing conditions a chance to join the insured pool. If the individual market does collapse, those with pre-existing conditions will surely be priced out of the insurance market altogether if they don’t already have insurance. An initial sign-up period (e.g., 24 months) would be a good compromise, in that it would allow a onetime chance for those with pre-existing conditions to join the insured pool, and after that time it would fade back to pre-Obamacare rules. Once the sign-up period is over, people would be encouraged to procure insurance before they get sick. A much better incentive compared to the individual mandate.

It’s just the beginning of 2018, and it looks like a promising year for the American people. Thinking of the middle-class worker, who will get to keep more of his or her earning because of the tax bill, savings on health insurance and health services would add to the growing American economy. If the legislature and the president do choose to take on healthcare again, they can truly put together a great healthcare bill that would be the icing on the on top of the tax bill cake.

Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at www.rbernstein.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is signed into law, there’s a lot of talk about what’s next on the president’s agenda.
healthcare, reform, tax cuts jobs act, trump
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 02:55 PM
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