- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
EDITORIAL: The aspirin tax
Obamacare raises revenue by undermining preventive medicine
Forty million Americans started paying higher taxes last weekend because of Obamacare. That’s enough to make anyone feel ill, but it’s only a start.
Obamacare eventually will impose nearly two dozen new or higher taxes on the American public, according to Americans for Tax Reform, which calls the new rules that took effect Jan. 1 the “medicine cabinet tax.” This penalty hits many everyday items in the ordinary household. Until now, Americans could use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) to pay, pretax, not just for major medical care and prescription drugs but also for nonprescription, over-the-counter medicines. Experts say such basic treatments save money in the long run by helping avoid expensive surgery and hospitalization down the road.
Obamacare disallows this use of HSAs and FSAs. Basic aspirin, laxatives, antihistamines, decongestants, antacids: None of them will be covered by self-controlled, self-savings plans favored by millions of middle-class families. The problem is worse for FSAs because funds can’t be carried from one year to the next, meaning any cash left at year’s end is forfeited by the saver and taxed by the government. This will prove to be an expensive and unsuccessful remedy for the nation’s health care woes. If people can’t use these monies for off-the-shelf cold and flu treatments and will lose any balance that’s left unused, there’s a greater chance the sick will ask doctors for pricey prescription drugs even for minor ailments.
Over the weekend, HSA taxes were increased from 10 percent to 20 percent for early withdrawals. In subsequent years, Obamacare will raise taxes on medical devices such as wheelchairs and expensive asthma inhalers, high-cost health plans, Blue Cross/Blue Shield policies and charitable hospitals. Meanwhile, President Obama hasn’t lifted a finger to make good on his vows to lower taxes elsewhere while forcing through new life for the death tax in return for a deal to extend the George W. Bush tax cuts. For example, Mr. Obama claimed he would like to cut high tax rates on corporate income, but there is no relief of the kind anywhere in sight.
Despite Mr. Obama’s incessant promises to the contrary, those burdened by these higher taxes include millions of couples who make less than $250,000 annually. Saturday’s taxes deter the use of preventive medicine, the opposite of what the president pledged to do through his government takeover of health care. This all adds evidence to the conclusion that the government leviathan, not the health of individual Americans, is Obamacare’s real beneficiary.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- EDITORIAL: Caught under the mistletoe
- EDITORIAL: The war on pronouns
- EDITORIAL: The Potemkin website
- EDITORIAL: The new payday inequality
- EDITORIAL: This is no bargain
Latest Blog Entries
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
Get Breaking Alerts
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- ICT trade mission to Azerbaijan successfully completed
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- JACOBS: Prepare for a fight on driverless vehicles
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- White House faces press revolt over access to Obama's South Africa flight