Health Savings Accounts, Regular, and Lifetime
We explain the distinction between Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts, and Lifetime Health Savings Accounts. Sometimes abbreviated as HSA, FSA, and L-HSA. Congress should make it easier to switch between them. All three are superior to "pay as you go", health insurance now in common use, only slightly modified by Obamacare. It's like term life insurance compared to whole-life. (www.philadelphia-reflections.com/topic/262.htm)
The traditional architecture of health insurance is called "Pay as you go", which like many political titles, means the opposite of what it says. When Lyndon Johnson started Medicare in 1965, he was faced with two simultaneous decisions: medical bills were coming in to be paid, and payroll deductions rolled in, intended to pay out for someone else's medical bills in the future. It seemed a simple thing to use the money on hand to pay the bills. Money was money, and it didn't care what it was for. For a while, more money came in than went out, so there was a surplus Medicare fund, but that is now gone. Almost entirely, today's' bills are paid with money intended to be spent years from now. To be brief, cash flow is used to pay current expenses, disregarding future obligations. That's very close to a Ponzi scheme, with the difference that the federal government can print reserve currency and, therefore, can borrow almost unlimited amounts from foreign countries. We quickly passed the point where we could invest the surplus money and got into the habit of borrowing it.
Pay As You Go is unable to generate income from premium reserves.
|Why Not Pay/Go?|
Medicare is 50% subsidized, so by implication, a Single-Payer system expects 50% subsidy, too.
|Why Not Single Payer?|
Originally published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014; most-recently modified: Friday, May 31, 2019