Last week, Sean Hannity introduced us (well, me anyway) to a wonderful gentleman named Ben Carson. Ben is a pediatric neurosurgeon (!!!), a pretty smart fella, soft-spoken yet convincing, and apparently very conservative (although, upon reflection, I’m not quite sure if you can categorize some of his ideas as either left or right leaning).
Ben has also become quite famous for disrupting the recent White House prayer breakfast with… wait for it…. logic and reason. Although they started out sitting by each other at the main table, you could see the change in the president’s demeanor as Mr. Carson very gently and politely dismantled everything this current administration stands for. It was priceless. (Uh oh, watch out for the “black” conservative).
First, Ben looks to the Bible for inspiration about how to fix the current tax system – tithing. Or, in our case, a fair, flat tax. It is so simple and elegant – exempt the first $20,000 (or some number) of income to lessen the burden on the truly poor, and tax everyone at the same rate above that. No deductions, no questions, no bullshit. And, after it’s in place, nobody would be able to claim “the rich” aren’t doing their fair share because their effective rate is lower – because it won’t be. As Ben puts it – “everyone has skin in the game”.
Personally, I’ve long been a flat-tax advocate. When the income tax system was originally put into place, the highest rate (well, I guess THE rate) was a whopping one percent! Then, the socialists got involved and because they were slaves to their feeeeeelings decided a “progressive” (in reality regressive) tax rate was the most “fair”. Let’s fix that ASAP.
Another great idea, the best as far as I’m concerned, is to create Health Savings Accounts for every man, woman, and child citizen of these United States; and to start redirecting some of the money wasted on Medicare, ‘Caid, and ObamaCare into these accounts. In other words, just as any child is automatically adopted into the Social Security system (which will never go away completely), he or she will also automatically be assigned an HSA to do with as he/she can for medical expenses. Certainly it won’t cover everything instantly, but with enough smart planning (Mr. Carson is all about personal responsibility), it could definitely work over the long haul without bankrupting the country.
Currently, this is how an HSA works. You can deposit money into a special non-taxed, interest-gaining savings account that must be used for medical expenses. The ideal situation for an HSA is to combine the account with a low-cost, high-deductible insurance plan (or catasrephic coverage insurance). The savings account is designed to allow you to cover the high deductible if you find the need to cover expensive medical costs while the insurance company will pick up the rest of the bill.
If you don’t have to use the funds, it rolls over every year. Once you reach age 65, you no longer are required to use it for medical expenses, although you certainly can; you can withdraw funds under the same conditions as a regular IRA. Although you will be penalized if you use the funds for non-medical expenses prior to age 65, you can use the money for vision care, alternative medicine or treatment and dental care.
Under Mr. Carson’s plan, any money left in the HSA can be willed to whomever upon death. This removes the “use it or lose it” mentality from the plan.
So, why not an HSA plan? Sure beats anything socialized medicine has to offer.