Friday, July 2, 2010

A Deceptive Cadence? One of the Hidden Consequences of Obamacare

The website "Americans for Tax Reform" has the headline: Six Months to Go Until the Largest Tax Hike in History.

I usually do not introduce political topics on Music Makes Sense unless they impact things like education and health or other areas that have to do with people with disabilities or medical issues. I know that just mentioning government sponsored health care can send people running to their respective idealogical corners and that is not my intention here. I do think, however, that it is important to be informed about the issues, especially as it relates to all the new laws and policies that will be implemented with the new healthcare laws. If the news articles are true, then what are known as "Flexible Spending Accounts" will become much more limited starting in January 2011. Currently, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), can be used for up to $5,000 in approved medical expenses. This amount will be cut in half starting in January.

The reason this is important to those of us who work with people with disabilities is that FSAs can help pay for special needs education. I do not know the rationale behind the lowering of the amounts people can contribute to their FSAs and we may never know since the healthcare bill was so large and went largely unread by the congressmen who signed it into law. The legislators may not have even realized what they were doing at the time, but it seems like a poor decision unless other accommodations have been arranged to help parents who have children with disabilities.

I like to help my readers understand music and how it works to affect behavior, mood, our physical functioning, etc. I think it is also important to try and make sense out of the laws and rules of society that govern how we can work as therapeutic professionals in schools, hospitals and other settings. I don't know how much music therapy was made possible through people's FSAs, but I do know that if people have to spend more money on special education because they lose their tax credit, then it may lead to them reducing their ability to pay for allied and adjunctive therapies like music therapy.

It is important for us to try and get informed about the new changes to healthcare. There is a lot to learn in a very short amount of time, but now we know at least one consequence that may affect some of the families we work with.

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