Ken777
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Posts: 9046
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:39 am

Tax Break For Employer Health Plans A Target Again

Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:03 pm

Interesting article in the WaPo today on taxing employer healthcare benefits.

Quote:
Job-based health care benefits could wind up on the chopping block if President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans get serious about cutting the deficit.

Budget proposals from leaders in both parties have urged shrinking or eliminating tax breaks that help make employer health insurance the leading source of coverage in the nation and a middle-class mainstay.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2010112800914.html?hpid=sec-health

While many will scream about any such cuts (especially unions) the reality is that the deficit requires both spending cuts and a review of all the various tax breaks that have been tossed to the voters over the years.

And I like the idea of considering these tax breaks as earmarks and requiring any earmark that is continued to be paid for somehow.
 
windy95
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RE: Tax Break For Employer Health Plans A Target Again

Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:07 pm

I saw this story this morning Ken and I knew you would be doing back flips....I believe everyone in some way needs to feel the actual cost of healtcare. But Obamacare needs to be stopped first and then we can get into real cost savings for healtcare and deficit reduction.
 
Pyrex
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RE: Tax Break For Employer Health Plans A Target Again

Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:47 am

To put it simply, people need to be on a fair footing. If employer benefit plans are tax-free, then individual health insurance premiums should be too. In a sense I don't care either way, as I think the market will adjust itself, I just feel everybody should stand on the same ground.

Now if you really want to go after benefits, why not go after flight perks given to airline employees?
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sccutler
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RE: Tax Break For Employer Health Plans A Target Again

Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:48 am

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 2):
To put it simply, people need to be on a fair footing. If employer benefit plans are tax-free, then individual health insurance premiums should be too. In a sense I don't care either way, as I think the market will adjust itself, I just feel everybody should stand on the same ground.

Sounds like common sense to me. This, then, means it'll never happen.
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Ken777
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:39 am

RE: Tax Break For Employer Health Plans A Target Again

Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:15 pm

Quoting windy95 (Reply 1):
But Obamacare needs to be stopped first

"Obamacare" has opened a lot of doors that will be very hard to close - especially with the insurance companies drooling over the "mandate". Look for the Republicans to make any changes the insurance companies want, but reform is going to stand.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Tax Break For Employer Health Plans A Target Again

Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:37 am

I'm fortunate in that my health care premiums are still covered 100% where I work, although we had to accept a doubling of our pharmacy co-pays to keep that last year. I'm okay with the trade-off. Let those (like me) who use a benefit pay a reasonable share. I simply think it's unfair that I don't get use of the extra dollars paid for those who are married, but those dollars are still a tax-deductible expense for my employer.

There are rumors that next year our company will introduce a cafeteria plan for all company benefits that can be covered by it, since there are many inequities. For instance, I take the free bus pass that costs them about $85, but if I drove, I'd automatically get a parking space that costs the company $175/mo. Where the wild difference is is in health care, of course. If I had a wife and kids, the entire premium would still be paid in full. A colleague and I figured out that the difference between him and I on our cost of benefits to the company (excluding retirement) ran around $1,000 per month. I'm single and take the bus. He drives and has a wife and three kids.

I'd like that $1,000/mo. to go towards my pharmacy and other usage co-pays plus the health plan yearly deductible, if there's anything left over. Like let me have a crown for a tooth paid in full, or new eyeglasses every year instead of every two years, if I wanted.

If Washington is going to redo the tax code, I'd like to see them do it in a similar cafeteria plan-style way. Allow a certain fixed dollar amount a company may expense per employee for benefits, then let each employer craft a plan that benefits their employees the most. They could sell it as an "enhancement." Just like the airlines do when they take away pillows, blankets, and food from our flights.   I suspect it would never fly, though, since it would hurt families to the benefit of singles, and that's Just. Not. Done. in America.
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