The Cost of Health Insurance, Part 2 – dnd

Dear Senator Daschle,

In part 1 I brought up the issue of the difficulty in choosing affordable health care coverage that meets an individual’s needs.  Now I’d like to discuss the goofy tax laws associated with health care coverage.

If your employer pays for health care coverage, it’s an untaxed benefit.  You pay no income tax or FICA on those earnings.  Wonderful.  If your employer only partially pays for your health care coverage, you get stuck paying for the difference with post-tax dollars.  If your employer doesn’t pay for health care coverage or you’re unemployed, you pay for it all with post-tax dollars.   Your only hope for relief is if your health care costs are above the itemized deductions threshold.  If you are self employed you can deduct the cost of health care coverage premiums from your adjusted gross income after the self employment tax has been computed.

Health Savings Accounts are a nice effort, but really don’t help.  You have to be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, the returns typically don’t cover inflation and the tax savings may be marginal.  Flexible spending accounts have similar benefits without the constraint of a high-deductible health plan, but its use-it-or-lose-it approach makes it confusing.

Senator Daschle, this is freakin’ nuts.  Here’s a wacky idea.  Revoke all health care coverage for members of Congress for two years.  Let them fend for themselves like so many of their constituents.  That should fix things.





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141 responses to “The Cost of Health Insurance, Part 2 – dnd

  1. dnd…

    Now that’s the best idea I have heard yet. And just think how that will help the economy by putting more insurance adjusters to work and saving the American Taxpayers dollars that can be used for other needs like Jobs Creation or Infrastructure Rebuilding.

    God Bless.

  2. BevnTempe

    Eugene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal Bishop will deliver the invocation at the Sunday Inauguration ceremony.

  3. BevnTempe

    Regarding suspension of congressional health care, what a novel idea. I think we would really be hearing a select group “whining” then!

  4. dnd ,
    As one of the self employed I know exactly what you are talking about, all the more reason to move to tax funded health care like the rest of the civilized world!

  5. Military Planners, in Nod to Obama, Are Preparing for a Faster Iraq Withdrawal

  6. Biden Outlines Plans to Do More With Less Power

    While most incoming vice presidents arrive eager to expand the influence of the office, Mr. Biden faces the unusual conundrum of figuring out how to scale it back. He wants to “restore the balance,” as he put it, after the unprecedented assertion of authority by Vice President Dick Cheney. Yet at the same time, Mr. Biden hardly wants to return to the days when the vice president was neither seen nor heard.

    “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” Mr. Biden said in an interview Wednesday. “The Bush-Cheney relationship hasn’t tasted very good. Not a single person you can name for me” — at this point, he leaned forward in his chair, jabbed his finger in the air and punctuated his words sharply. “Look at me, now — a single one can tell you that the pudding has tasted good. Not one. Name me one serious person, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican.”

  7. Nannymm

    Good morning. It’s 26 below zero here. Gotta go throw more wood on the fire.

  8. A balmy 17 here and snowing.

  9. Nannymm

    Too cold for snow here. Too cold for much of anything here. I’m just glad I don’t have to go out today.

  10. “This could be a very technical discussion, but I will try and keep it simple. The answer to the question of can it be too cold to snow is no, it can’t be too cold to snow, but is gets increasingly difficult the colder it gets.”

    Aint it great what you can learn on a blog, and please don’t hit me!


  11. Nannymm

    I’ve never hit anyone in my life. But there is always a first time….LOL

  12. Queen Noor had some interesting things to say just now on Morning Joe regarding the current state of things in the Mideast.

  13. Nannymm

    I agree. She makes alot of sense.

  14. Nannymm

    I’m glad Joe isn’t on. I like the show so much better when he isn’t there to shout over everyone else. The conversation is always so much more informative without him.

  15. I also liked what Richard Haas (I’m like him a lot, even if he is technically a repug) had to say about the Palestinian right of return.

  16. Nannymm

    I think there has to be a right of return, but, as Haas said, not to Israel. Displaced persons should be able to return to Palestine or to other surrounding areas.

  17. Nannymm

    Seems to mean that there needs to be a common sense approach to this whole conflict. Right now there is too much fever pitch emotion. And, of course, there needs to be an honest broker to help negotiate a lasting settlement that brings about a permanent peace. Perhaps Obama and Clinton can accomplish what no one else has been able to. It’s that infectious hope thing….

  18. I was also glad to see Haas mention that some of the blame can be laid at the feet of the Bush administration for it’s lack of involvement in the region. Time and time again we have seen when American is actively diplomatically involved things improve.

  19. Nannymm

    That was interesting to hear a repug say. Of course, it is true. That’s why I’m hopeful that Obama and Clinton can get get the parties to calm down and start working on the peace process again.

  20. Another Move for the Obamas

    On Thursday, President-elect Barack Obama and his family will move into Blair House, which traditionally serves as a temporary home for incoming presidents and their families, just five days before they move into their official residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

  21. Nannymm

    It’s just more republican obstructionism.

  22. dog's eye view

    agreed entirely re Congress losing their excellent and comprehensive taxpayer-financed healthcare plan. Far better to give them no additional money and a mandate that each of 535 congressional offices gets out there and negotiates its own way in the healthcare marketplace. It’s the American way. They’ll succeed if they’re deserving enough.

  23. Nannymm

    That is a brilliant idea, dnd. Maybe if they had to fend for themselves as so many others do, they might get serious and get to work on Universal Heathcare. Nothing seems to motivate our dear congress critters as much as self-interest.

  24. chefsheila

    Morning folks.

    dnd, really very sound in my view. I was going to say, no one on the Hill would do that, but maybe this congress will be different.

    Maybe they won’t give themselves raises. 😆

  25. chefsheila

    Watching Chris matthews on Eric Holders confermation hearings.

    I believe this man is going to get raked over the hot coals. I hate to say this, but the Republicans on the Hill are going to get some payback on behalf of all the hard times they had with the Democrats.

  26. chefsheila

    What a difference on the Hill. The air of advancement and smell of rolling up the sleeves is something I believe we as adults have never witnessed.

  27. Nannymm

    Those are the repugs that voted unanimously to confirm both Ascroft and Gonzales as AG. Their suggestion that Holder can’t be independent is laughable. Based on how they supported Ascroft and Gonzales, they don’t give a damn about independence in the AG’s office. They are just out to make trouble and obstruct the majority. Payback is exactly what they are up to, Sheila. How childish and pathetic is that?

  28. chefsheila

    I know, but I can’t help feeling that the children are just about to get 4 years of quiet Parenthood. reteaching the children that went to “Divorced Parent” for the summer and came back with terrible habits and nasty manners.

    I really think we can expect a difference. And so I am patient in watching the tanttums that will peter out.

  29. chefsheila

    Wups, lost the picture…

  30. chefsheila

    Lets get this one straight. Arlin Spector has the right to be critical. But lets not get sidewinded by his statement that he is hard on his republicans too…

    I watched every confirmation he has taken part in for the last 14 years. He has been particularly hard and illogical on the Dem side and particularly “Soft Ballish” on the Rep side.

    I sincerely hope he softens too. But Spector is also one that grandstands for his audience and is always seek one.

  31. dnd

    Are Tim Geithner’s delinquent taxes an issue?

    Anyone who does their own taxes realizes how obscure and confusing the tax code is. It’s easy to make mistakes. If the IRS catches a mistake, they send you a letter notifying you of the mistake, and any interest and penalties, if applicable.

    Those who think Geithner should have made no mistakes on his taxes, or divine intent as a tax cheat, need to get a life.

  32. chefsheila

    Well there is the final vote from the foreign relations committee on Clinton. What I saw of it yesterday, they did a thorough job of questioning her and she did a remarkable job of laying out her thoughts on how she will conduct the mission.

  33. chefsheila

    dnd, I think geithner is going to get his pants set on fire for a couple of hours because of it. But he will get confirmed. I read the issues myself and its actually minor.

    But this is a great avenue for the republicans to protest their reduced power.

  34. dnd

    Maybe Geithner’s tax mistake will prompt some to simplify the tax code.

    Hey, I can dream can’t I? 😉

  35. chefsheila

    LOLOL I think we all may get out wish in the next 4 years if the administration is sucessful in guiding us out of the first four years. 😉

  36. horsedooty

    the vote for Clinton was all in favor except Vitters from Louisiana. You may remember Vitters as the one that visited call girls and wanted to be diapered. Lovely guy.

  37. dnd

    Geithner’s confirmation hearing has been postponed until after the inauguration.

    I think Clinton was very diplomatic in her answers to some of the bone headed comments she got, yet while maintaining a look of “you really don’t want to mess with me.” Perfect for a SoS 😉

  38. Everything about Vitter is creepy!

  39. chefsheila

    I agree dnd. I actually have become enamerd with Clintion’s seriously eloquent and professional manner.

  40. chefsheila

    Vitters doesn’t have long on the Hill. He’s trying to act like a republican for his constituents to save his job. He looks archaic.

  41. Nannymm

    I was hoping she’d somehow slip in a “veiled” reference to his proclivities in response to his questions. It would have made my day. And that pig Vitters deserved it.

  42. Nannymm

    I was way ahead of you, Sheila! I knew Hillary was a professional through and through a long time ago. 🙂

  43. My father would have been 83 today, weird!

  44. Nannymm

    💡 Let’s all have some cake and celebrate a great day. Because without Brian’s dad, we wouldn’t have Brian or this blog.

  45. As long as you don’t let sheila make the cake, she likes butter cream fosting, I prefer chocolate gateau, as she well knows!

  46. chefsheila

    I know Ganache and I know gateau whether flourless or not!

    But i bet Nanny makes a cake that all children young and old short and tall would squeal for!

  47. Actually I meant to type out ganache, but you’re right, a good ganache is worthy of a good gateau!

  48. Nannymm

    Actually, I’m more well known for my pies and pastries; and the kids tend to request my brownies and apple crisp alot.

  49. Now don’t get me started on pies, as even Sheila will admit, no one, and I mean no one bakes a better pie than me! Right Sheila? Right?


  50. chefsheila

    lol From what I HEAR. 😉 They haven’t actually crossed my pie hole lol

    But being a culinary grad like myself, I will say that if you say so, you actually know so.

  51. chefsheila


    Nanny, I AM CAKE GIRL 😆

    I make some really lucious stuff

  52. Nannymm

    Wow! Did you all just hear Holder? He actually said the words, “I was WRONG!” THAT is amazing! Personally, I think that alone should qualify him for AG. A man who can admit a mistake, say he was wrong, and apologize for it has the integrity to do the job as far as I am concerned. And I might add, such honesty and directness is unheard of in government. Kudos to Holder!

  53. And lets not forget I spent three years of my professional culinary life baking pies, 20 pies a day!

  54. Nannymm

    What’s you specialty, Brian?

  55. Nannymm

    Sheila, my cakes taste great but they don’t always look like I want them to. 😦

  56. chefsheila

    I know, it takes practice for all of us. Brian and I have had LOTS of practice and I even went to a decorating school.

  57. The pie I make most frequently is deep dish apple, cranberry, walnut pie, and my lemon squares have been known to make grown men drop to their knees and weep in delight!

  58. Nannymm

    OK, now I’m getting hungry for some wonderful baked goods. What shall it be???

  59. How about chocolate cream cheese brownies?

  60. Nannymm

    OK, Brian. I’m sold. Send me those recipes, please.
    As for the cakes, Sheila, I’ve thought of cake decorating classes but with my arthritis I’m not sure I could do it. What do you think? Is it hard on the hands?

  61. dnd

    Bush’s farewell address at 8pm ET. Isn’t that past his bedtime?

    Need to come up with a drinking game for this momentous event.

  62. Nannymm

    My grandsons LOVE chocolate cream cheese brownies. But I made a double batch of blondies for the kids yesterday. Now lemon squares sound very inviting….

  63. Nannymm

    Hey, Brian, you going to open the chat room tonight? It would be fun to heckle Bush on his way out. 😈


    That’s pretty much the recipe I use, and like it says, DON’T over bake. you have an accurate oven or oven thermometer?

  65. good idea Nanny, yes I’ll open it 15 minutes before the speech. What time is it, 8:00 eastern?

  66. Nannymm

    All three of my ovens are accurate and I always use oven thermometers just in case. So where are the recipes for your deep dish apple, cranberry, walnut pie, and lemon squares?
    I want to see who has the better lemon squares recipe.

  67. do a search on Lady Bird Johnson’s Lemon Squares, that’s the recipe I use.

    Double the following for a deep dish:

    4 cups pared, sliced apples
    2 cups fresh Cranberries
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/3 cup flour
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
    Pastry for a 9-inch two crust pie


    Preheat oven to 425º F.

    Combine all ingredients, except pastry, in a medium mixing bowl; mix well. Pour into a pastry-lined pie plate. I usally do a lattice top crust on this, and wrap the edges with foil.

  68. Nannymm

    Too funny! That’s the same lemon squares recipe I’ve been using since I lived in Texas. It’s quite popular down there.

  69. dog's eye view

    I love recipes when they are not posted militantly!

  70. Nannymm

    hey dog, how does one post a recipe “militantly?’ I want to try it! LMAO!

  71. Yeah I didn’t get that either.

  72. dog's eye view

    was speaking of Patsi; when she didn’t like some topic (maybe summer of love), she was putting up recipes in lieu of commenting.

    Were probably some good recipes! But one still has to consider intent in posting.

  73. Oh yeah I remember, a long litany over recipes based on a lot of processed food, very much from the kraft kitchens type of thing.

  74. Nannymm

    Hillary just gave a terrific speech. Loved that little joke about knowing where to find Chuck Schumer whenever she misses him. (on TV for those who may have missed it.)

  75. Yeah that was cute, and it was a good speech. Now it’s time for Paterson to step up to the plate and name his pick.

  76. Nannymm

    Who do you think it will be? I’m somewhat conflicted but I think Caroline Kennedy would be a good choice. I’m not sure any of the others have the clout needed to fend off Peter King in two years.

  77. I’m a Kennedy junkie, I love the idea of Caroline being in the senate, but I can live with Cuomo too.

  78. I need a nap, I had a hard time sleeping last night, later peeps.

  79. dnd

    Today is Martin Luther King’s birthday. He was born in 1929

  80. dnd

    Obama’s on this month’s cover of The American Dog Magazine:

  81. Nannymm

    How sweet! I think he should adopt that dog.

  82. dnd

    “WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar vowed Thursday to reorient the Department of Interior from a hive of special interests that marked the Bush Administration to one based on integrity and the rule of science.”

  83. Nannymm

    OMG! There is a US Air commuter jet in the Hudson River near the Intrepid. Apparently it was a flight from Laguardia to Charlotte, NC that hit a flock of geese and lost both engines.

  84. Nannymm

    Here’s a link to the alert on NY Times:

    There are 151 people on board.

  85. dnd

    Wow. Everybody safe. Remarkable.

  86. Nannymm

    Amazing! Those pilots deserve medals.

  87. dnd

    Yeah, Nannymm, the pilots, the flight attendants and the first responders all deserve the highest praise. Had to be really cold out there.

  88. *stretches and yawns*

    Damn you miss the most interesting things when taking a nap!

  89. Nannymm

    I wonder if Bush is still planning to speak tonight.

  90. Oye, our mayor is sooooooooooooooooo Jewish, “tnks to god”, LOL

  91. Nannymm

    Yup, ya gotta love him.

  92. Sometimes! I have some issues with this third term issue.

  93. Palin to be No Show at Obama’s Dinner for McCain

    Was she even invited? “I don’t know if she was invited,” McCallister says. Don’t know? How could that be? It’s hard to miss an invitation from a presidential inauguration committee. For its part, Obama’s inaugural committee has declined to say whether an invitation was sent to Palin. Repeated phone calls to its press office produced no answer to this simple question.

  94. chefsheila

    I people,. I’m trying to win the day with something always going crazy….

  95. chefsheila

    That plane crash is definitely a miracle. And in the middle of winter too.

  96. Nannymm

    Not surprising. No one, except the Rush Limbo Loonies, wants anything to do with Moose Mouth.

  97. Nannymm

    You going to join us for Bush’s last speech, Sheila?

  98. chefsheila

    If you guys are still there and I’m off will, but this is the Mrs, Birthday weekend and its allready crazy.

  99. She’s old and fat, what’s to celebrate?

  100. chefsheila

    Free foood?

  101. Stick a birthday candle in her martini olive and wish her the best!

  102. chefsheila

    How often to Presidents say goodbye with a speech?

  103. Get on the chat room sheila!

  104. Nannymm

    yes, Sheila!!

  105. Ok, kids…just a few more days now!!!

    Warning: You will be seeing much more of me soon. Basketball season is almost done.

  106. chefsheila

    Good morning. I couldn’t sleep!

  107. chefsheila

    I’m so glad Steve. Have the kids improved to their satisfaction?

  108. chefsheila

    That crash landing was an inspiration, wasn’t it? I would not be surprised if we pay attention to this for a while instead of the hard stuff.

    It gives many people something warm and fuzzy to concentrate on.

  109. chefsheila

    wow! Gorgeous shot of the crash!

  110. chefsheila

    Moma Sarah is going to the Inauguration. ;0)

    This is going to be a cool day.

  111. dnd

    After seeing W’s farewell speech last night, I’m pretty much convinced on three things:

    1. W. thinks he did the best job possible under the circumstances.
    2. This whole farewell tour is the beginning of a massive effort to pump up his legacy.
    3. Karl Rove is running it.

  112. chefsheila

    Always something political. ;0) This would fun to watch.

    GOP Surprisingly Nervous About Texas Senate Seat

    Talk about a coup…

  113. chefsheila

    and (4) He’s lying to himself and the people.

    I thought; “Another continuing case of The Emperor’s New Clothes”

  114. Nannymm

    dnd and sheila, i agree on all 4 counts. I can smell Rove’s hand in this “Happy Face” tour. It would be comical if it weren’t so pathetic.
    By the way, Sheila. It may be a cool day but it’s also a COLD day! It is -31 degrees, NOT factoring in wind chill.

  115. chefsheila

    Hi Nanny.

    Moma Sarah may have a hard time. I hope they keep her warm enough.

  116. chefsheila

    oh you mean you? My teeth are clenchin at the thought.

    Palm Springs is a balmy 64 right now and its 6:23am

  117. Nannymm

    64 degrees??? I don’t want to hear it!!! Too much information for my frozen ears to hear.
    It’s so cold here my dogs don’t even want to go out. The Siberian Huskie is the only one I don’t have to drag out the door.
    I’m supposed to be chaperoning the middle school ski trip again today. We go every Friday night from 4 to 10 pm for 8weeks. Crazy me… I volunteered to chaperone. I’m praying they cancel today because it’s just too cold to be on that mountain. We’ll all have frostbite.

  118. dnd

    My rule of thumb is that if it’s too cold to pee, it’s too cold to ski.

  119. chefsheila

    DND!! Look what you made me doo!

    Just sprayed toothpaste on the screen…….

  120. chefsheila

    Ok Guys, Time to get to work. Later!!!

  121. dnd

    I think you’re right; W. is lying to himself. He’s in a state of denial.

    What really griped me about the speech last night was the smirk, the half grin and arrogant eyebrows when he was blatantly lying. And thinking he was getting away with it.

  122. dog's eye view

    I think it is too perfect that the Bush-Rove “farewell; I did well, actually” tour got trounced yesterday by news of someone who actually did perform flawlessly in a dangerous and almost unprecedented situation (both engines out).

    Captain Sullenberger was well prepared, exhibited good judgment, kept his passengers and crew apprised, and kept his eye on flying the jet and not panicking about externalities. He walked an aisle that was underwater twice to make sure that each and every passenger was safe and rescued.

    The good Lord or karma treated us to news of an actual hero and not a fake one.

  123. dog's eye view

    Am in New York, and you would not know from the local news that Bush gave a speech last night.

    You know Rove is pissed that his “legacy enhancement” project didn’t get airborne!

  124. Nannymm


    Good point, dog’s eye. It is quite ironic that Chimp was pushed aside for a real hero. That pilot and the “Miracle on the Hudson” that he gave us last night just may be a turning point, an omen of good things to come.
    All Bush’s smirking,grinning, and happy talk last night,or whenever, cannot hide the fact that he leaves this country in far worse shape than he found it.
    Now it is up to Obama and true American heroes to lead us all to make our country great again. The best thing Bush and Co. can do for their country now is to exit the stage and go away and stay away.

  125. Nannymm

    The Democratic response to Bush’s address last night:

  126. *stretches and yawns*
    morning peeps

  127. Nannymm

    Good morning.

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