Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Shot across the SOTU Bow

So Bush is going to call for "an elevated tone" in Washington and propose that we all start using "health savings accounts" to take responsibility for our health care. Sure, Mr. President. I'll take responsibility for my family's health just as soon as you take responsibilty for protecting us from every kind of illness, from bird flu down to spring-puncture tetanus infections.

Amid the already-welling criticism of HSAs, Ezra Klein at Tapped has a good post on just what HSAs will mean - not as health-care measures, but as (yet more) subsidies for credit card companies:

About half of HSA holders don't put any money in their accounts. Many of the others sock away only paltry funds. And the national savings rate is at -- wait for it -- zero. So when health emergencies hit, HSA users, faced with massive deductibles and no stored wealth to combat it, charge them.
This dovetails nicely with the new bankruptcy laws, which were of course spearheaded by the credit card industry... I love it when a plan comes together.