Healthcare For PA Families
While the concept of their plan is good – consumer driven reform, giving choice to consumers, freeing the market, reducing the cost of health insurance and care, and avoiding more government programs – the details are limited. Some of their best reform ideas include: Requiring insurers to offer basic health policies (“Allowing” would be a better solution than “requiring” in my view, though I don’t think insurers would choose not to offer a basic plan); liability reform, and supporting Health Savings Accounts.
Only two pieces of legislation currently exist; one reintroduces the Fair Share Act – which would limit the liabilities due in a lawsuit to the percentage of fault of a defendant – which Governor Rendell vetoed last year (after supporting as a candidate in 2002).
The second, HB 121 would offer tax credits to small businesses for contributions to employee’s Health Savings Accounts – the tax credit would be 25% of the contribution to individual HSAs and 50% to family HSAs. While this is a good way to encourage HSA use and decrease the cost of health coverage for employers, I consider it a lower priority. It does little to tranform the system, and insists on employer provided HSAs, which are already tax-free expenditures.
Some additional ways to promote HSA use would be:
- List Billing – this would allow employers to contribute to their employee’s individually purchased HSA, without having a company plan. This was part of Missouri’s recent health care reform.
- HSA Charitable Tax Credits – similar in design to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, this could allow tax-free donations to charities providing partial support for HSAs to low income families.
- HSAs as a plan option for state workers and legislators, and for Medicaid recipients.