Monday, November 09, 2009

Why Expats Should Not Be Forced To Buy National Health Insurance

Sherman Oaks, California

Yesterday, I wrote about how expats will be exempt from Pelosi-Care’s mandatory coverage and penalty provisions if the bill, which passed the House of Representatives yesterday by five votes, becomes law.

Today, the topic is why it’s important for expats to be exempt.

1. Many expats pay cash for health care. Expats often have no need for anything other than catastrophic health insurance. In many countries, routine health services are inexpensive, so you pay cash and are done with it. A visit to an English-speaking doctor in China can cost about 100 RMB, or US$13. Many expats only re-enter the States’ overpriced system if, God forbid, something truly bad manifests.

2. Enough already with the extraterritorial taxes. Almost every other industrialized nation keeps its paws off citizens’ out-of-country earnings. If a Briton moves to Malaysia to work for a Swedish company, the Exchequer has no claim to any of the income.

The United States, however, takes the position that every cent earned anywhere on the globe by a U.S. citizen is subject to income taxes, Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes. It’s truly outrageous – a tax to hold a passport. A mandate that expats purchase U.S. health insurance would be yet another extraterritorial tax imposed on people who want to escape Uncle Sam’s smothering, rib-cracking embrace.

3. Many expats qualify for the local national health plan. A mandate would require some expats to pay twice. Expats who have settled down in their adopted countries often qualify for the local national health plan, which is financed through taxes the expats pay in-country. They shouldn’t be forced to buy an additional policy that duplicates coverage.

4. When will you Obama supporters admit you were conned? This point isn’t about expats but about the laughable idealism of people who voted for Barack Obama thinking he would “do something” about health care. This is what he’s done: He’s refused to lead the process, ceded the drafting to Congressional leaders who are owned by the insurance lobby, and allowed them to pass a health care bill which forces people -- on pain of tax, fine or imprisonment -- to buy coverage they may not want, need or can afford. When people were casting a ballot for Hope And Change, how many were thinking, “I want this eloquent, smiling man with the pretty words to do nothing while Congress forces me to transfer my money to insurance carriers.”?

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Hater said...

As an expat, I'm happy to hear that I won't be saddled with this monstrosity. However, I'm sure Barry and his gang will dream up another way to squeeze some more treasure out of US expats. It's just a matter of time.

I read an analysis the other day about what Obamacare will mean for a guy earning about 45K a year-- he'd be forced, upon pain of jail and/or fines, to spend about 20% of his income on government-run health insurance. All those moron twenty-somethings who voted for Barry are going to have a nasty surprise coming, and I can't say I have much sympathy.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama bit aside, I agree with you that it is important for expats to be exempt from paying into the US health care system.

For most of the time that I lived in China, I paid about $1/day for emergency health care from an insurance company in Canada, in case I was seriously injured in a car accident or something (not an insignificant risk in China!). My emergency care policy covered me everywhere in the world, including North Korea and Iraq, with the sole exception of the US.

For a while in China I received basic health care for free from my employer, which was nice except one time when I had a computer eyestrain-related headache and asked for eyedrops, and I was instead prescribed two drugs that were banned from the US in 1989 for causing cancer.

After leaving that job I paid for my own care at good clinics up front, for as cheap as you said.

Now I am living in South Africa and covered by my significant other's company policy. I pay up front and am later reimbursed; a few days ago I paid $30 for a consultation with a family doctor, who got me in to see a specialist same-day and then phoned me at home to see how I was doing.

As a Canadian non-resident I don't pay taxes, and so I don't pay into the government health care plan. If I need to see a doctor in Canada then I pay up front. It's inexpensive but not as patient-friendly as the care I have experienced at better clinics in South Africa and China. This is in part due to the fact that doctors don't want to work in the area of Canada where I grew up, and so despite the luring of doctors from South Africa and other countries there is still a major shortage of physicians and specialists.

Lengthy monologue to say that it would be insane for American expats to have to pay into the national health care plan....

ECS

2:04 AM  
Anonymous Coffee I.F. Closers said...

twenty percent sounds to me like an appropriate contribution to the common wealth of our society and one that I am happy to pay on a planet where getting sick is mandatory. what hater apparently meant to say is that all those moron 50-somethings who don't understand how democratic proceses alter the social contract are going to regret that they were unable to con everyone out of voting for Obama last year. big news there.

another way of thinking about that is to consider how flaccid and idiotic I would sound if, instead of the usual intellectual drubbing I dealt you in this space, I used it to cry about the refereeing in last night's Patriots game. because that's what you sound like predicting a moral terpitude is implicit to health-care legislation. it's fucking healthcare legislation. it's not, on the other hand, the destabilization of half the goddam world's political systems via elective religious wars.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Hater said...

No, what Hater meant to say was:

"All those moron twenty-somethings who voted for Barry are going to have a nasty surprise coming, and I can't say I have much sympathy."

Just like all those other idiots who thought: 1) Barry was going to post all the bills online for public inspection before signing them; 2) Barry was going to line by line through all bills to make sure the taxpayer wasn't getting porked to death; 3) Barry was going to stop rendition; 4) Barry was going to stop warrantless wiretapping; 5) Barry was going to close Gitmo in a year; 6) Barry was going to pull out of Iraq; 7) Barry was going to focus like a laser on the "good war" in Afghanistan; 8) Barry was going to do everything in his power (perhaps even bombing Pakistan) in order to get that goat-fucker OBL; 9) Barry was going to make sure all policy discussions are open to the public; 10) Barry was going to be a post-racial healer and stay away from "stupidly" commenting on open criminal proceedings; 11) Barry was going to engage with the North Koreans and bring them to heel; 12) Barry was going to end "don't ask, don't tell;" 13) Barry was going to be fiscally prudent and not rack up 10 trillion dollar in debt ... the list goes on and on. Look, I hate Barry and will gloat with relish when his one-term turd of presidency gets flushed down the pipe. That's a given. What's more important is the opinion of all the independents out there-- they bought into the Obama fantasy, but now they're starting to see the error of their ways. Take a look at the polls and consider NJ and VA. The problem for you is that I'm right and you're wrong. Also, can you simplify your language a bit? I can't understand what the fuck you are trying to say.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Hater said...

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29646.html

12:10 AM  

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