Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The health care gap: between common sense and reality

I knew a while ago that health care reform would bring with it my inability to use my health savings account to buy over-the-counter medication.
I didn't get angry about that until about 5 minutes ago.
Sure, it doesn't seem like a big deal. So you pay a few cents in taxes for the Nyquil or ibuprofen. No biggie. I've only had an HSA for a year, so it's not like that'll be a major change.
But, while reading this story, in which it suggested first buying up medicines by the end of the year while you still can (this is for people with flex spending accounts who are on a use-it-or-lose it basis; HSAs roll over) and then pointing out that next year, people who have $50 or something left won't be able to use it on aspirin, so they'll lose it.
So this is how the government plans to pay for health care reform ...
Sadly, however, it gets better -- or worse, depending on how you want to phrase it. The IRS also forbids stockpiling more than a 3-month supply of medications.
Are you freaking kidding me?
The IRS now can tell me how many painkillers I'm allowed to keep in my house at any given time? And allergy medications? Is an auditor going to show up the next time I bring home an industrial-size bottle of ibuprofen and take away however much I won't reasonably use before my next birthday? (On a side note, were this to happen, I would put my hand on the Bible and swear that I take four tablets every four hours on the dot without fail every single day of the week no matter what. I would feel zero guilt about it too.)
But I'm still not done. I just realized that over-the-counter medications pretty much are my health care. I take OTC painkillers when my knee or back is bothering me. I take Excedrin instead of Lortab for headaches. I take cold and flu medications because I don't see the point in going to a doctor unless I am really, really sick.
So pretty much, the esteemed government is telling me, it is acceptable for me to access the expensive routes of health care (in other words, pay $150 to see a doctor for five minutes, who will tell me that I have the flu and need to rest and drink orange juice, then write me a prescription for some medicine that I probably don't need), but I will not be compensated, awarded or even encouraged to keep myself healthy on my own.
Great. Just great. Bring on the new year.

No comments:

Post a Comment