The Honorable Robert Corker
United States Senate
800 Market Street, Suite 121
Knoxville, TN 37902
Dear Senator Corker:
According to an article published by the Associated Press on May 18, 2009 (“What to tax to pay for health care?“), the Congress is considering taxing health insurance benefits. Additionally, tax savings items like flexible health accounts will also be things of the past as the federal government looks for ways to fund a universal health system.
Senator, I am a small business owner. While I do not currently have employees, I still provide health insurance for my family. I use a Health Savings Account in conjunction with a health insurance plan that provides for catastrophic coverage. Visits my family makes to the doctor, as well as prescription costs, come out of that HSA. The money I put into the HSA reduces my overall tax liability. This and other tax reductions are essential to small business owners like myself as we are responsible for the full amount of social security, federal, state, and local taxes.
Because my insurance program does not cover doctor’s visits until I reach my deductible of $5000, I must take an active role in managing my health costs. It means that I question every test that is run, and every procedure that is performed, always asking if these things are truly necessary or are just being performed to satisfy insurance and legal risk analyses. It means that I must take care of myself away from the doctor – watching what I eat, and exercising properly. My doctor is also free to be a doctor, as we both are equally engaged in keeping me healthy. If major health care is needed, I am covered for 100% of the costs after I meet the deductable. All this for less than $200 a month in premium plus whatever I budget to go into my HSA.
It seems that HSAs and similar health insurance programs would be the answer to the cost of health care in this country. The insurance premiums are very low – as my insurance company only covers the cost of catastrophic care. There is a financial incentive to be healthy – as every visit to the doctor requires a check. Doctors can be doctors, instead of seeing every patient as a potential lawsuit and thus ordering expensive tests. Businesses of all sizes would better be able to offer this form of insurance, as well as offering employees assistance in setting up the HSAs. While the deductibles are often high – mine is $5000 – once that is met the costs are usually met IN FULL by the insurance company. The tragic cases of bankruptcy brought on by families struggling to meet health care costs ranging in the hundreds of thousands would be the exception, not the rule that we see today.
I urge you to block any attempt to put the federal government in charge of our health care. We do not need Washington to provide health care; we need you to step out of the way. We need you to put a stop to the lawsuit craziness that drives doctors and insurance companies to order every test, procedures that are costly and often unnecessary, in order to cover risk exposure. We need you to block any tax increase that takes away the ability of small businesses to provide responsible health insurance to our employees. In short, we need you to send a clear message that health insurance is not the responsibility of the federal government.
As always, we appreciate that work that you do. Please know that you are in our prayers.
Reuel K. Sample