Friday
Feb172017

A USEFUL OBAMACARE REPEAL AND PLACE TOOL

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released an excellent interactive tool. In summary form, it enables individuals to examine the various "repeal and/or replace" proposals under consideration, including Senator Dr. Rand Paul's and Speaker Paul Ryan's. It's important to follow this process so that the "blindsiding" which was so common during the last 8 years doesn't find its way into the new GOP Administration.

As always, an informed electorate is a danger to the power elite, and we should all strive to be a challenge to those who may have interests inimical to America's best interests.

Article courtesy of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Link to article and interactive tool.

Thursday
Feb162017

LOOKS LIKE SOME ACTUALLY LEFT THE U.S.

Some celebrities and some wannabe celebrities pledged to leave the U.S. if President Trump were elected.  In fact, as Election Day approached and the possibility of a Trump victory became more possible, Canada's immigration website crashed from the traffic. But, few, if any seemed to have actually done so.

However, an increasing, albeit still small, number of Americans have renounced their citizenship. Most of these were dual citizenship holders. Because our current tax systems taxes these people as if they are current residents of the U.S.--even if they haven't lived in the U.S. during the tax year. THAT seems to be the most prevalent reason for renouncing U.S. citizenship.

But, we can still hope that some of these threats are played out. Until then, we can take some interest in how many of our fellow citizens renounced their citizenship.

Infographic: Historic Numbers Renounced Their US Citizenship In 2016  | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

 

Wednesday
Feb152017

LET'S GET MOVING ON REPEAL-AND-REPLACE

Senator Dr. Rand Paul has handed us a great roadmap for "fixing" all that is wrong with Obamacare. Of course, the energy to "repeal and replace" lasted about 2 weeks into the new Administration.

Then, the hard work of planning and designing a very complex national health care program and process confronted the Trump Administration and Congress in the midst of a flurry of Executive Orders (some good, some wretchedly bad), getting nominees confirmed and ensuring an excellent Supreme Court nominee clears the political hurdles with which he will be confronted. The bloom quickly left that rose.

And then, the "progressive" irony kicked in and they now embrace their suddenly-beloved Obamacare, even with its massive cost increases and diminishing insurer participation and generally abysmal performance. The "it ain't so bad" mantra seems to have slowed down not only progress but reality on the need to repeal-and-replace the ACA.

But, Rand Paul has swooped in to try and resurrect the momentum. He's realized a viable and well-considered outline that can serve as a template to begin discussion. He's received favorable reactions from critical quarters, including Trump advisors. Sen. Paul introduces his proposal in late January. And there it sits. Hopefully, the energy and momentum will resume soon. A viable alternative needs to be agreed before repeal can realistically be considered.

Here's the summary of his bill which Sen. Rand's staff has prepared. It's a very good place from which to begin.

 

Dr. Rand Paul’s Obamacare Replacement Act, S. 222:

 page1image1936 page1image2096

Repealing Obamacare page1image2096

Effective as of the date of enactment of this bill, the following provisions of Obamacare are repealed:

o Individual and employer mandates, community rating restrictions, rate review, essential health benefits requirement, medical loss ratio, and other insurance mandates. 

 

Protecting Individuals with Pre-Existing Conditions

  •  Provides a two-year open-enrollment period under which individuals with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  •  Restores HIPAA pre-existing conditions protections. Prior to Obamacare, HIPAA guaranteed those within the group market could obtain continuous health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions.

 

Equalize the Tax Treatment of Health Insurance
  •  Individuals who receive health insurance through an employer are able to exclude the premium amount from their taxable income. However, this subsidy is unavailable for those that do not receive their insurance through an employer but instead shop for insurance on the individual market.
  •  Equalizes the tax treatment of the purchase of health insurance for individuals and employers. By providing a universal deduction on both income and payroll taxes regardless of how an individual obtains their health insurance, Americans will be empowered to purchase insurance independent of employment. Furthermore, this provision does not interfere with employer- provided coverage for Americans who prefer those plans.

 

Expansion of Health Savings Accounts
 Tax Credit for HSA Contributions
  • Provides individuals the option of a tax credit of up to $5,000 per taxpayer for contributions to an HSA. If an individual chooses not to accept the tax credit or contributes in excess of $5,000, those contributions are still tax-preferred.

 

 Maximum Contribution Limit to HSA

  • Removes the maximum allowable annual contribution, so that individuals may make unlimited contributions to an HSA.

 

Eliminates the requirement that a participant in an HSA be enrolled in a high deductible health care plan
  • Currently, in order to be eligible to establish and use an HSA, an individual must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan. This section removes the HSA plan type requirement to allow individuals with all

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