President Bush has responded to growing middle-class anxiety about the high cost of health insurance and to workers' fears that they will lose their health coverage if they lose their jobs. The president is offering new policy initiatives that would give people more control over their health spending and give them options to buy health insurance that is portable so they can keep it as they move to another job or even another state.
Many of the president's initiatives build on Health Savings Accounts, which have been available for only two years but which already have three million enrollees, one third of whom were previously uninsured. The clear focus is to make HSAs even more attractive, allowing larger deposits to these tax-preferred accounts, tax deductibility for HSA-compatible health insurance, and tax credits to offset payroll taxes and to help low-income people get HSAs.
With these new proposals, President Bush has made a strong statement that he wants to give consumers more control over their health care and the power to demand more attractive, affordable choices.