"If you like your health coverage, you can keep it." That's what Obama said, isn't it? Well, the devil is in the details.
Many of us have Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) as part of our health coverage, and we love them. Paying from out-of-pocket health care expenses with pre-tax dollars is a godsend.
Well, thanks to Obamacare, your HSA and FSA have just become less valuable to you. Beginning in 2011, you can't use HSA/FSA dollars on over-the-counter medications any longer. So all those allergy meds and pain relievers just became 28% more expensive. In addition, the maximum allowable contribution to your FSA has been capped at $2500. FSA contributions were previously unlimited, and FSAs helped alleviate the financial burden of families caring for disabled children.
Furthermore, the deductibility threshold for out of pocket medical expenses has been raised from 7.5% to 10% of income.
By eliminating these tax benefits, Obama has just raised taxes on everyone who has an HSA/FSA or substantial out of pocket expenses, including those of us who make less than $200,000 per year.
In addition, Obamacare eliminates the tax deduction corporations currently receive for providing retiree prescription drug benefits. AT&T announced it is taking a $1 billion charge against earnings to account for the change in tax law. Companies affected by this change are going to have to make up that money somewhere, and will most likely do so by reducing salaries and/or benefits to workers and retirees.
But Obama said if we like our health coverage we can keep it, and that he wasn't going to raise taxes on anyone making less than $200,000 per year!
In a Report to the Unites States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, the Governmental Accountability Office reveals the results of its secret taste-test of Energy Star. Energy Star awarded the coveted Energy Star certification to bogus companies offering fictitious products such as a gasoline-powered alarm clock and an air purifier which bears a strong resemblance to a space heater with a feather duster taped to the front.
Energy Star is a joint project of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. The federal employees responsible for certifying the space heater with the feather duster taped to the front will no doubt be transferred to another federal job; smart money says they'll end up working on Obamacare.
Meanwhile, somebody at the GAO has a bright future ahead of them writing for The Daily Show.