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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Small Biz Health Care Daily: More on Obama and HSAs

As noted in another entry on this blog, during his health care summit, President Obama was not exactly positive on the role of health savings accounts (HSAs) in health care reform.

In a follow up letter to congressional leaders, however, the President wrote the following:

Senator Barrasso raised a suggestion that we expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). I know many Republicans believe that HSAs, when used in conjunction with high-deductible health plans, are a good vehicle to encourage more cost-consciousness in consumers’ use of health care services. I believe that high-deductible health plans could be offered in the exchange under my proposal, and I’m open to including language to ensure that is clear. This could help to encourage more people to take advantage of HSAs.

Well, that at least provides some hope. But the proof will be in the actual wording of whatever legislation is put forward. After all, one can talk nicely about HSAs, but increased regulations and mandates, and various tax changes, would undermine the effectiveness of HSAs in the real world.

In the end, the President’s big government health care agenda stands in stark and direct opposition to the market-led reforms reflected in HSAs.

Raymond J. Keating
Chief Economist
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

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