Friday, November 27, 2009

Health Care Reform? Really?

I have been staying away from the whole health care reform debate. As much as it is a hot button topic these days, I do not intend this space to become too politically charged. I know there are good people who firmly believe they're right on both sides of the issue. I did encourage you (as some of those good people) to get involved in the process and make your voice heard. However, I have been seeing this headline in numerous venues, so I think it must be a real problem regardless of your political stance. "Plan to Restric Health Accounts Will Hurt Disabled." In case you are worried about bias, you can read another version of the story on The Basically it reads the same. Parents of special needs children who use their Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)to cover education and other treatments that are not covered by medical insurance are going to have this tax shelter stripped away for all but $2500 per year of their expenses. This is only one small aspect of the Health Care Reform that our leaders are now considering. Given that they're supposedly "fixing things for those who are currently burned by the system" one can only hope that they'll take one look at this specific "reform" and drop it like the bad idea it appears to be. Evidently the reformers worried that people racing to use up their FSA funds by the end of the year (a requirement of such funds) contribute to "over-consumption" of medical treatments that health care reform is supposed to be addressing. They decided to cap the funds at $2500 so that people will only over-consume $2500 worth of medical care by the end of the year. Since most people already self-limit their FSA to $1500 it seems like kind of a moot point, unless you happen to be the parent of a special needs child who maxes out their FSA every year to help pay for out of pocket treatments (which I hear can be not just elective therapies but also medically necessary procedures). Suddenly $2500 is just a drop in the bucket. Special needs families have enough hurdles to get over in an ordinary year without having the government make poor choices like this one. If you're not already involved, it's time to get involved. There are other aspects of the reform being considered that might be more compelling...this one just seems the most obvious reason to put the brakes on the whole process and really think about what we're doing. Really!


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