January 10, 2013

The Cliffhanger for Healthcare

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cliffhangerThe fiscal cliff has come and gone. The resolution was a temporary Band-Aid  to kick the proverbial can down the road. However the here and now effects are being felt by those of us paying the bills. The bills that matter a great deal are the health insurance and co-pays. I cannot be the only person in the US feeling the pain of health costs.

The cost of healthcare to employers are already higher than 2012. This is reflected in reductions in paychecks to employees. The average cost of private health insurance is estimated to rise, as well. The Affordable Care Act may have the opposite effect on healthcare costs.

The healthcare reform law imposes a massive new sales tax on health insurance which will increase the cost of coverage for individuals, small businesses, and public program beneficiaries with private insurance. The Joint Committee on Taxation projects that between 2013 and 2022 the new tax will total $101.7 billion. Now that we’re over the fiscal cliff and careening toward the debt ceiling, we may have a larger bill than originally estimated.

By the way, the debt ceiling is probably more concerning than the fiscal cliff. This YouTube video explains how this ordeal may require more action than a new vote to raise the debt ceiling. Think of it in terms of a credit card limit. Now think of a way you can pay-off the credit card once you’ve maxed it out. Now multiply the magnitude by billions of dollars — what’s the US Debt Clock now?

Predicting the best way to fix the situation is unknown. The cost of healthcare is rising. The money to cover medical expenses is falling. True to form, if the cliff in this scenarios is healthcare,  the cliffhangers are the people needing a hand while dangling off the cliff. The only free hands are those with hands to lend. Where does that leave us?

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