Conservatives sing the praises of ‘the market’ when it comes to many issues. More recently they have applied their theories to health care. Unfortunately their calls for a ‘market driven’ solution consist of little more than promoting health savings accounts. Frankly, the verdict of ‘the market’ has already come in and it has determined that HSA’s primarily benefit the wealthy. This is certainly no surprise to progressives who have been pointing this fact out for several years.
In yet another study of HSA’s, the Government Accountability Office found that they are being used by more affluent households as tax shelters. It found that the average adjusted gross income of tax filers who made HSA contributions was $139,000 as compared to $57,000 for all other tax filers. The study also found that many HSA participants appear to be using their accounts as a tax shelter rather than paying for out-of-pocket health care costs. The GAO found that 41 percent of tax filers reporting HSA contributions in 2005 did not withdraw any funds from their accounts at any time during the year.
Even after the constant harping about HSA’s being the best thing since sliced bread, it has failed to catch on in ‘the market’ as a whole. The only popular ‘market’ for HSA’s appears to be the wealthy who are in search of more tax shelters. Although conservatives always chant the mantra of letting ‘the market speak,’ they are choosing to ignore its voice on health savings accounts.