Health Savings Accounts: The Wrong Prescription

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<p>Since his State of the Union address, President Bush has continued his campaign for health savings accounts (HSAs), which he argues will expand insurance coverage and contain health care spending by enabling people to put money into tax-free accounts to cover medical expenses.<br><br>In a new <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=20832&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D357454%26%23doc357454">commentary </a> on The Commonwealth Fund's Web site, James J. Mongan, M.D., president and CEO of Partners HealthCare, offers his views on the Administration's proposal. Mongan points out that taxpayers would only be eligible for HSAs if they and their employers traded in comprehensive health care policies for cheaper policies with high deductibles.<br><br>"This would leave currently insured people fully exposed to health care costs up to this deductible amount, potentially eating up their savings and then some," Mongan writes. He explains why such health plans will not only drive up costs for the poor and sick but are likely to have only a marginal impact on health care spending.<br><br>Commonwealth President Karen Davis, Ph.D., appearing on PBS's <a href="">NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,</a> also addressed issues with health savings accounts. "I think they're the wrong prescription," Davis said. "The patient is not at fault for high health care costs, and the solution isn't making the patient pay more of their own bills out of pocket."</p>