Vail Daily column: TrumpCare train starting to roll
Have you read the TrumpCare legislation yet?
“No, but I saw it weighs a lot less than ObamaCare.”
Weight is your barometer for the success or failure of a law?
“No, of course not, I’m just saying it doesn’t appear to be nearly as complicated.”
Oh, so I take it you’ve read the Cliff Notes version?
“That’s still a thing?”
I don’t know, it’s just a figure of speech.
“Well, no then, but I’ve seen plenty of news stories about it.”
Would that be actual news stories, or what you constantly refer to as “fake news”?
“Depends upon if I agree with it or not.”
That’s what I thought.
“But I understand it gets rid of the federal mandate fee for employers to supply and individuals to have health insurance.”
You are correct with the word “fee,” but the federal mandate remains.
“Well, I understand it gives permission for insurance companies to sell their products across state lines, and that has to be a good thing for competition.”
Sure, but take a guess as to how many health insurance companies have applied to conduct business across state lines so far.
“I don’t know, a few dozen maybe?”
Zero. Not one. According to an insurance industry executive talking head on Fox, none are interested because the costs involved in setting up in different states far outweigh the potential profits due to new restrictions put in place by TrumpCare.
“But they’re just saying that until the law actually changes.”
Sure, if you say so. Hey, do you know what an HSA is?
“A Health Savings Account?”
Bingo. Do you know what it does?
“Haven’t a clue.”
It allows, for example, a family of four to put around $8,000 a year into a tax-free savings account to be used for medical expenses, and then they get to deduct most of that amount straight off the bottom line of their taxes in addition to deducting their premiums.
“Um, sounds great if you have eight grand laying around.”
Yep, and TrumpCare is almost doubling that amount.
“Seriously? So the more you put into an HSA the more tax-free income you receive and the more you can deduct off the bottom line of your federal tax bill?
“Sounds like a pretty good deal for those with the extra cash, but it doesn’t help the poor or the average Joe at all.”
Yes, and the older you get the more it costs, especially for those ages 50-64 in high premium areas like, for instance, Happy Valley.
“Wait, I thought the whole idea was to make it cheaper for the poor and the elderly and to guarantee coverage to all Americans.”
Oh, my poor little naive alter-ego, did you really think candidate Trump meant all that stuff he said about covering everybody with cheaper premiums and better care?
Stay tuned for the House vote on Thursday to see if TrumpCare gets derailed or moves down the track to becoming law.
Either way, this joyride is only in first gear.
Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.