Posted by: danielrashke | July 6, 2009

Wait and See

The line-up of legislators, experts, and pundits continues to make the rounds of the news shows talking about the push for health care reform, and one thing is becoming perfectly clear.  Despite all the words, at this point, no one is willing to place a stake in the ground and take a firm position on what this reformed health care system will look like or how we will pay for it.

We can glean some things from all the discussions:

  • Most parties involved seemed aligned to the concept of retaining tax exclusions on health care benefits.
  • Placing a tax on those with higher income levels or “rich” benefit plans as a way to finance reform is still very much on the table.  However, the caps on these levels are way up there.  We are talking about singles who earn more than $100,000 and married couples who earn more than $200,000 a year.  Or benefit packages worth more than $17,000 a year per family.  Some legislators support these proposed caps for the changes in societal behavior that they believe capping benefits would force.
  • Now that a potential price tag has surfaced, everyone is rethinking their proposal, seeing if cuts can be made.

As we have stated from the start, TASC will continue to take a wait-and-see approach.  What was originally a hurry up proposition, has now turned into a waiting game.  However, just as quickly this could turn back into hurry up.  We will continue to be prepared to act, if necessary.  For now the news for our industry looks pretty good.  But, as I have also stated before, it is still early in the process.  As of this date, no legislation has been proposed.  I believe that until a funding proposal comes from the Ways and Means or Finance Committees, there really is nothing serious to discuss.  And here is another thing to keep in mind: Despite the fact that the analysis regarding funding refers to a 10-year period starting in 2010, most of the reform and any taxation of benefits aren’t likely to start until 2013.

I guess we will all just have to wait and see.


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