I am a fan of Bill Salier. I first met him during his primary campaign in Cedar Rapids at the home of a good Republican friend, Billboard Bob. I liked his message of family values, strong defense and limited, constitutional government. (I am also a big fan of Steve King, so I will not get in the middle of that particular argument 😉 )
This week I have been listening to Bill filling in for Jan Mickelson on 1040 WHO radio. The topic of greatest interest to me has been healthcare and the push by the Obama government to take over the nation's healthcare system. Whether it is a single-payer government solution or a Massachesetts (Romney) style insurance mandate, we conservatives must stand firm against it.
I recently started my own business full-time. As I looked at all of the things I would have to do to make a go of it, I was dismayed that one of the biggest isses I faced was how to provide health insurance for my family. I know that my situation is atypical. Many of my friends who consult as I do get insurance through their wife's employer. My wife is a stay-at-home mom and we have five children at home.
For most of our married life, we have had insurance coverage through my emplyer. Now, Bill was absolutely correct in saying that I payed for this coverage — not my employer. So I should probably say that I purchased insurance through my employer. I have always said that one of the biggest probelms in our system is that we get our health insurance through our employers.
Most small companies, like my previous employer, do not offer choices to their employees. There was no option to shop around, I could take or leave the group plan. Another problem is that since it was covered, I rarely shopped around or even asked the cost of services. So there was no real incentive for me to try and keep our costs down. My company also provided a Section 125 or cafeteria plan. I put pre-tax money into this plan and then could spend it on medical, dental an dvision expenses. The problem with this program is that money in the plan does not roll-over. If you do not spend it in the calandar year — you lose it. This results in a yearly rush to spend Setion 125 money before it is lost permanently. I have found myself at the end of the year, considering spending money not because it was medically necessary but to avoid forfeiting it.
Even the way that most of us look at health insurance is a problem. We expect our insurance to cover every medical expense we incur. Rather than insuring to prevent medical/financial catastrophe — we insure to cover shots, wellcare, minor scraps, yearly exams, etc.
I have complained about this system for years while comfortably covered by my employers comprehensive health insurance and Section 125 plans. Well now, as a small businessman, I am putting my money where my mouth is. I have just recently purchased a high deductable private insurance policy and started a Health Savings Account(HSA).
HSA's are an outgrowth of the trial Medical Savings Account program. HSA's allow taxpayers to set aside pre-tax dollars similar to a Section 125 plan to pay medical exepnses. MSAs must be combined with a high-deductable health insurance policy. Unlike Section 125 monies, HSA monies roll over and do not have to be spent within tha calander year.
Already my wife and I have found ourselves shopping for services. One of the providers we use charges $130 for na office visit. When the company plan paid, we didn't care about the rate. Now that we pay we were considering switching providers until we found out that if we paid cash (check), the rate went down to $50! Some of the extra $80 would have gone to processing the insurance claim and waiting for the receivables.
By taking responsibility for our basic services and insuring against catastrophes, we as a family are managing our healthcare dollars better and recieving excellent services at a lower cost.
Moving the nation towards a mandatory or government insurance scheme is a move in the wrong direction. It takes any incentive to save out of the system and does not empower people to make intelligent informed decisions.
Senator Grassley's Democrat challenger, Bob Krause has said that healthcare will be one of the defining issues in the campaign — I agree. With his postion on the Senate Finance Committe, Senator Grassley will play a crucial role in standing firm on core Republican prinisples like individual liberty and responsibility and opposing Obama's nationalization of healthcare.
Fight the good fight Senator and we'll be right behind you.