Thursday, January 17, 2013

Health Care Tax Credit - Count Me Out

My denomination has a department devoted to helping ministers and churches with retirement and insurance issues.  RBI (Retirement, Benefits and Insurance) publishes a bi-annual newsletter entitled Benefits Bulletin.  In its latest edition it was reported that the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 (also known as Obamacare) is impacting churches. How?

The story in question has this title: A Health Care Tax Credit that applies to PCA Churches.  After reading the first couple of paragraphs my initial impression was that I wouldn't qualify so I turned the page.  A few days later I took a more careful look at the article and discovered that I do qualify for the tax credit (or more accurately, my church qualifies for the tax credit).

As I read what I needed to do in order to claim the tax credit it dawned on me that the federal government wasn't forcing my healthcare provider to return a portion of the premiums that I have paid.  In fact, the federal government is taking money out of someone's pocket (or worse, borrowing it from the Chinese) and simply giving it away to those it deems needy.  As I reflected on that further I got a little indignant about the entire matter.  Under the guise of compassion the government is taking money from producers and simply giving it away.

I don't fault RBI for publishing the article or for explaining how small churches could benefit from this legislation.  But to all who find themselves in a similar situation I implore you to think twice before going down this road.  You are not entitled to the money that is being doled out - you didn't earn it.  If the federal government was punishing healthcare providers for price gouging and this was part of the settlement, then there wouldn't be an issue.  But in this case you contracted for healthcare services, you paid a fair premium to that provider, and now the government is stepping in to say that churches and small companies are entitled to a credit of 25 - 35% of premiums paid on the simple basis that you are a small employer.

What's particularly troubling in all of this is that federal tax revenue only covers about 60% of what is being spent each year.  Where does the other 40% come from?  It is either being borrowed (from China) or it is being printed by the Treasury Department.

Though I could always use a little more money, count me out of this scheme.

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