It’s MLK, Jr Day, and many are spending the day in service to others. Writing for this publication is only one of my community efforts, and this column is being written today with some new horizons.
This week I will be interviewed by MainStreet.com on the effects of the Affordable Care Act on taxes. This time of year brings many tax questions.
The ACA only affects those without insurance now, or those whose plans have been determined not to offer sufficient coverage as currently written. When you hear that a person’s plan has been “cancelled,” it simply means they are carrying enough coverage to keep them from the demands of responsible coverage. A catastrophic plain Jane plan that leaves you exposed to a bankruptcy and without adequate access to healthcare doesn’t do you nor society at large any favors by “saving” you money in a blinded short run when you end up in an emergency room or with worse problems from lack of care that are more costly in the end. The whole idea of the ACA is to cover more people with better insurance so we can all live better. Humans, as it turns out, are social animals, an inconvenient truth sometimes.
If one person has an STD, and has no access to a treatment from a clinic or doctor’s office, that person can infect a large number of persons including members of your family. While you paying for someone else’s coverage may not stand to your political leanings, the half dozen people all of whom now have to be treated from such hard headed biological truths will know just how non-partisan pathogens are. Better coverage for larger number of people can be statistically shown to bring down the cost of healthcare. Preventative care also can be shown to lower healthcare costs significantly.
Your healthcare premiums are also not going to be treated any differently than they are currently for tax purposes. The rate on your plan may be 500-1200 per month, but the tax credit on your premium is calculated up front so you only pay the difference. Under the old model, you would pay a hundred bucks or so and your employer would pick up the difference in the group plan. Same thing. The group plan now is simply enormously larger, 2 million persons larger now, and 30 million persons larger in ten years. One has to imagine a single payer system at the end of this tunnel, and the genius of introducing this will be seen as historically significant just like Medicare and Medicaid. Many of these new 30 million covered will be in the Medicaid pool.
In helping the less fortunate (which are now 80 percent of us) to deal with tax issues in this area of California, I would also like to announce some assistance being brought to Riverside in Spanish. A Lower Income Taxpayer Clinic is being set up that had, until now, been operating only in Orange County. They do a phone assessment and then set up an appointment FREE OF CHARGE to help families in this demographic pay their taxes. Many families, even those without documents or social security numbers, are still able to pay taxes via a TIN (Tax Identification Number). This helps establish social responsibility and credit. To debunk the myth that somehow undocumented families don’t want to pay taxes or are somehow a “burden”… this should help. Happy MLK, Jr Day!
www.legal-aid.com and (800) 834-5001