Guest Post by Ross Schriftman: HSAs and the Government Trust

Health Savings Accounts and The Government Trust: Government’s Bad View of Americans

By Ross Schriftman

Certain members of Congress and their think tank experts don’t think we Americans are smart enough to handle our own funds. No better example of this exists than the recent hearing held in Washington before the Subcommittee for Health of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Certain members of the committee were quoted as saying that the government is contributing to Health Savings Accounts. That is news to me as I have never gotten a deposit from the U.S. Treasury into my account. Here is how they think. Believe it or not they think a tax deduction for our hard earned contributions to our savings is a government contribution. This is bizarre.

Unfortunately, public tax policy has become twisted. Our government taxes savings and encourages spending. No wonder we are facing such a bad financial crisis both in the public sector and in our economy in general.

The other view of some members of the committee and their “expert” witnesses is that people can’t handle the complexities of our healthcare system and will make bad decisions with their funds. They also claim, without proof through the audit system, that Americans are using their funds for other than medical expenses and not reporting it as taxable income. Their conclusion is that we can not be trusted. But can they?

It is we the American public that needs to be concerned about the competency and trust of our government. If the government were an insurance company it would have been declared insolvent for making promises that it can’t fulfill. Look at the first page of your Social Security statement. It clearly states that they can’t pay us what we contributed to our retirement plan. Read the Medicare Trustees report and realize that in a little over 10 years from now Part A of Medicare will be broke. Read the study that was recently produced showing an estimated annual $70 billion in waste and fraud in the Medicare program out of a budget of $400 billion.

People are finally taking charge of their health care through Health Savings Accounts. People are actually spending less and saving more so that they will have it for future health care expenses. Americans with these plans are utilizing all the additional preventive benefits in the plans and are becoming smarter about their healthcare.  So what do members of this committee say? They say it is terrible that people are saving money and that the government isn’t taxing it. They are attempting to end the program one way or another including checking each and every withdrawal from our accounts to make sure we are spending it the way they want us to.

Despite what are politicians think, Americans will continue to choose plans that give themselves more control over their health care dollars and dramatically lower the premium dollars they send to health insurance companies. It is just too bad that our government has such antiquated views about our ability to make our own decisions.
While our politicians continue to misrepresent the value of savings for health care needs and continue to make decisions based on outdated government reports, the American public will be smarter and realize it is time for us to save, invest and insure before the public trust funds are depleted.

Ross Schriftman has been an insurance representative since 1975. He is an employee benefit specialist with Kistler Tiffany Benefits of Berwyn , Pennsylvania and serves as the firm’s individual long term care and Medicare supplement insurance products specialist. He has been with Kistler Tiffany Benefits since 1999. He is an active member of the National Association of Alternative Benefi Consultants, the National Association of Health Underwriters and served as the NAHU’s Associate Chair for Long Term Care from 2001 to 2003. He also served as the Legislative Chair for the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters from 1994 to 2003 and the Legislative Chair for the Montgomery County Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors from 2001 to 2003. He also has served twice as a panelist at the Montgomery County Estate Planning Council’s Annual Seminar.

Mr. Schriftman holds the professional designations of Registered Health Underwriter, Fellow of the Life Underwriters Training Council, Advanced Chartered Benefit Consultant and Medicare Supplement Accredited Advisor. He teaches courses to other insurance agents including a course in preparation for the Chartered Benefit Consultant designation.

Mr. Schriftman is a frequent speaker on health care reform and has published numerous articles related to long term care and health care reform. He also testifies regularly before the Pennsylvania General Assembly and has conducted briefings for legislators and their staff. Mr. Schriftman recently was appointed as a Senior Scholar (non-faculty affiliate) of the Department of Health Policy at JeffersonMedical College in Philadelphia , PA.

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