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Distractions

By Dr. Cathleen London, MD
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There has been a lot of chatter recently on new taxes that the ACA imposes – specifically the 3.8% capital gains tax – this is a tax on UNEARNED income – ie from stocks and real estate. Pardon me if I do not cry.  Capital gains tax rates are currently 15%. This is far below the over 30% paid in earned income at the level mostly affected. Increasing capitol gains tax to help pay for increasing coverage to over 30 million Americans makes sense.  The same people complaining will also likely  get tax credits for supplying coverage to their employees – for small businesses this is a 35% credit increasing to 50%.  (http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/08/small-business.html) It strikes me that the complaining is just obstructionist.

 

The ACA is law of the land. Rather than sticking heels in the sand and pouting we need to get to work to ensure that ALL Americans have access to affordable, quality healthcare.  That means having the coverage to get preventive services – now supplied without cost sharing.  It means we, as physicians, can intervene BEFORE a health condition warrants a visit to the emergency room. It means we can potentially avoid costly care.

 

I am tired of seeing fighting for fighting sake.  This latest tact of complaining about taxes is just not warranted.  The actual tax provisions are laid out by the IRS: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Affordable-Care-Act-Tax-Provisions.  The doom and gloom talk is really unwarranted.  What is more laughable is that some of the uncertainty around insurance  - cost increases due to aging employees – existed long before the ACA and is in fact one of the reasons we need the ACA – now thanks to the new law insurance companies cannot:

 

-rescind care

-put lifetime caps on benefits

-spend more than 20% of premiums on administrative overhead, including executive salaries

-refuse to cover due to pre-existing conditions (children already have this provision and adults will as of 2014. Meanwhile there is a high risk pool to buy into).

-raise rates without justification.

 

We need the ACA for sentiments such as this “The company is particularly concerned about having to offer health benefits to about 400 employees who work more than 30 but less than 40 hours per week, as the law stipulates it must do beginning in 2014”
CFO.com(http://s.tt/1mWyz)

 

The idea that companies have their employees work more than 30 hours but less than 40 hours per week to AVOID paying benefits is why we have the situation that we do.  It is not entitlement mentality to want benefits for the hard work being done rather denying benefits is a direction this country has taken that must stop.  We have lost compassion in our society. The ACA seeks to help put that back.

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