Hope & Change: HSA participants see tax increases, drug costs to go up

Obama lied. Today, those of you with health savings accounts (HSAs) – originally promoted by congress-critters and the federal government as a great way to reduce medical costs – are paying more for over-the-counter medications and prescriptions.

With the introduction of HSAs, consumers were able to use tax-free dollars to pay for over-the-counter medications. The program helped consumers save 25 to 30 percent on medications used by families every day to make their lives better.

Maybe your child has a slight fever and needs some Children’s Tylenol. Before Jan. 1, you could go to the pharmacy and pick it up Saturday night at 10 p.m. and pay for the medication with funds from your HSA. You contributed tax-free dollars to your HSA so your cost for the medication was less.

Effective Jan. 1, if you want to pay for the medication using HSA dollars, you’ll need to wait until Monday morning to bring your child in to see your pediatrician. He could then write you a prescription for Children’s Tylenol and you could go pick up the over-the-counter medication and pay for it with HSA funds. How stupid is that? How much would that doctor’s visit cost?

Of course, individuals and families take products like Claritin and Advil every day to make their lives better and those of us with HSAs could use those tax-free funds to pay the bill.

President Obama and the supporters of the health care legislation – now referred to as ObamaCare – didn’t think the government could afford that “discount” anymore. It is after all, their money, not your’s.

And you thought Obama was not going to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000?

Not only will those of us with HSAs experience higher cost on over-the-counter medications, all of us will soon experience an increase in the cost of all medications as a direct result of new taxes on drug makers. As noted on this site before, the health care reform legislation brings $2.5 billion in new taxes to the drug industry starting this week, and the yearly fees will be more than $4 billion within seven years.

And don’t forget the tax on medical device manufactures starting this week. All of those products – drugs, joint replacements, cardiac stents and more – will simply cost more since the federal government needs the money.

Hope and change brother …. hope and change.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Lynn on January 3, 2011 at 3:34 am

    Steve, thank you for keeping this issue in the forefront. I sold HSA's because they were the lowest cost insurance policies and provided the tax-free fund for medical expenses. You could purchase bandages, eyedrops etc. the list was truly endless with your HSA account. Before you were age 65 you could only use this account for these medical expenses, but after 65, you could use the funds for anything. The hope being it would be an account for retirement savings. Without fail, everyone asked me if the government would take the tax-free benefit away. Being naive and trusting, I said NO. The govt. would never take this away, they realize the benefit of people being able to save and lessen the burden on medicare. How could I be so stupid?! I am ridden with guilt and hope my former clients forgive me. Moral: I no longer trust the govt.

  2. Dimsdale on January 3, 2011 at 4:24 am

    Øbama and the Democrats lied?  Say it ain't so!


    What did anyone expect when you put the largest group of inexperienced, incompetent, self important and politically motivated on the case of "fixing" something?  I guess they can't be completely stupid, since they jammed it through before anyone (save SOS!) could determine the gross flaws in the legislation.  So they knew it was crap.


    And they didn't even kiss us first!

  3. phil on January 3, 2011 at 5:34 am

    That's 'Hoax and chains, brother, hoax and chains.'

  4. winnie888 on January 4, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Steve, thanks to your original post on this, we decided to get rid of our med. flex spending account.  On the 31st we had about $200 left over in available funds and went to the pharmacy to stock up on anything we use that's covered.  I've just never heard of anything SO ridiculous as having to go to the doctor for an rx for TYLENOL (or anything OTC).  What a handy way for the gov. to amass information about the population–not to sound like a conspiracy theorist or anything…just sayin' s'all.


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