I've never been a supporter of ACA. I view it as a potential failure likely to doom Democrats to permanent minority status in the Congress beginning with this year's election cycle. Don't get me wrong, Democrats had the right idea by taking on our nation's healthcare crisis. Forget about the earlier technical sign-up stuff as it's small potatoes with no long term implications. They simply bungled it so badly I don't see any positive developments except many who couldn't previously afford healthcare insurance now can which I greatly favor; however, the repercussions for those who already had sound employer based insurance appear significant and likely to cost Democrats at the polls for many years.
More below the fold.
In my case, I make $41,000/year and have good employer based health insurance by all standards. I feel fortunate and realize a lot of people would trade places with me in a heartbeat. The health insurance benefit is what has kept me with my employer for the past eight years.
At 52 years of age it's unlikely I'm going to get a better deal at this point - or so I thought until yesterday. During those eight years I've required a couple of surgeries including a spine fusion C4-C6 and knee replacement largely as a result of more physical endeavors associated with my prior career. I've been able to afford them due to frugal living, a reasonable maximum out-of-pocket and still contributed to my IRA, albeit not as much as I would prefer, independent of my employer's retirement plan.
Sounds good except my maximum out-of-pocket through Humana increased from $1,650 to $2,350 this year. Fortunately, I'm not on any pills yet but can see that changing in the near future due to blood pressure which has always been borderline. That's $700 which won't likely be going into my IRA anymore. Doesn't sound like much if one makes double my salary or more but it's significant on my end. Is this attributable to ACA? I think yes. The fact Democrats either didn't believe or knowingly proceeded under the assumption healthcare associated companies wouldn't use the law to increase profits amounts to policy malpractice. Had sufficient cost containment measures been included in ACA this shouldn't have happened.
I refinanced my little 950 square foot home at 3%. Again, sounds good; however, it halved my mortgage interest deduction over my previous mortgage which meant my tax refund this year diminished proportionately. This brings me to the point of this diary.
I was informed yesterday that employer based healthcare would be counted as taxable income next year. If true and taken literally, by the math $800 month premium (of which I pay 25%) x 12 = $9,600 x .27 taxes equals approximately $2,600 in new taxes for me next year wiping out any possibility of contributing to my IRA and quite possibly forcing me to eat ramen noodles seven days a week as my tax federal return this year was less than $300. I can't afford to write a check next year to the Feds for $2,300 and keep my head above water, much less save for retirement.
Perhaps my information and following assumptions are incorrect. I certainly hope so for myself and the future of this nation. Disinformation, misinformation or both? I'm not sure. I am sure there's no way we're never going to have affordable healthcare for all with eight figure/year CEOs associated with various healthcare interests driving the train. In my mind, this is the shortcoming of the ACA along with failure to include some form of TORT reform which I know isn't popular here but is part of the deal in every single country which provides affordable healthcare for its citizenry.
I totally get it why taxing employer based healthcare as income makes sense in some circles - It would break the bond between employment and healthcare, drive more people into the government sponsored pools thus eventually leading us to the promise land of single-payer.
Unfortunately, I believe this thinking far too complex, costly for most, therefore fatally flawed and will only drive weak minded individuals back to the Republicans on which they depend. Personally, I'd rather be eaten by a bear than vote for a Republican but there will be many individuals who will fall for their snake oil if the above scenario is true.
Please debunk me. Tell me this isn't true. Otherwise you're going to see this played out in numerous campaigns leading up to 2016 and beyond until there's a fix which will take a generation if only accomplished one state at a time.