Health Care Reform

The Tax Attic with Jerry Coon

August 20, 2009 // 0 Comments

Everyone affected by health care reform Health care reform may be the biggest issue currently confronting all of us. The troubles of the automobile industry are well-documented and their problems do affect each of us in some way. My father was a GM retiree, so my mother’s survivor’s benefits may be directly affected by what is happening with GM. The demise of GM’s 36th Street plant has also meant the closing of various local suppliers. Many of my clients are out of work because of GM. Not everyone, however, is directly affected by GM’s troubles. The decline of the housing industry, the collapse of the derivative products and the worldwide messiness that went with that debacle such as the corresponding banking institution failures and all of the foreclosure issues have caused heartburn among many taxpayers. Not everyone, however, is directly affected by the housing or banking industry issues. By the same token, everyone, and I do mean everyone, is affected directly by how Congress deals with the health care reform issue. All of us, from the newest baby on the block to the oldest taxpayer in America, will be affected by the bill that this Congress passes to President Obama for his signature. The bill currently on the table, called “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” will set the tone for health care for generations to come. Some types of legislation come and go. Tax legislation, for example, is passed frequently. Each Congress and President influences the ebb and flow of tax legislation. Taxes go up, credits are increased, credits are eliminated, and deductions come and go. It happens every year. If we don’t like something in this year’s bills, we can wait a year or two and it might change. Another example is the agriculture bill that is passed every year. It is somewhat routine in nature, albeit sometimes controversial. Congress decides how much money the agricultural community will get and how it will be divided up. It happens every year. If the community doesn’t like how the money is split up in this year’s bill, they can wait a year or two, work with their lobbyists, and it might change. Somehow, I get the feeling that health care reform isn’t going to […]

The Tax Attic with Jerry Coon – August 13, 2009

August 13, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Health care reform The subject of health care reform is the topic of choice for most everyone today. It looks like health care reform is going to happen. Read what Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, recently had to say in response to a question of about the odds of a health care reform bill passing this year: “100 percent. Given. Inevitable. The country wants it. The president wants it.” Given the fact Senator Baucus speaks for enough senators to pass a bill no matter what we may or may not think, I believe he is right in his calculations. We are most likely going to have health care reform. There are two big questions that come to mind in this debate on health care reform. First, will our government be able to efficiently run its part of the reform package? Second, what exactly will that reform look like? Efficiency and the federal government are not words that are discussed in the same sentence very often. The federal government has a history of being good at dealing with concrete issues, such as building the interstate highway system that links the north with the south and the east coast with the west coast. In the previous century, they built the railroad system. In the 1960s, they put a man on the moon. Granted private industry did much of the work, but the federal government was the grand designer and they were good at making that happen. Solid projects with a black-and-white goal in sight: Connect the railroad system from coast to coast. Build a highway system to move products and people easily anywhere in the country. Beat the Russians to having an American walk on the moon. What is their history, though, when it comes to the managing of life’s softer issues? For example, President Johnson’s Great Society was going to eradicate poverty and eliminate discrimination, among other admirable goals. It hasn’t happened yet, but billions of dollars were spent in the pursuit of those goals. There really wasn’t a black-and-white goal, so there really was no project completion. Another example that hits home a little closer would be the State of Massachusetts and their mandatory health insurance program. Currently, 97% […]