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People can now itemize deductions for medical expenses for amounts in excess of 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI). If the AGI is $100,000, people can deduct any expenses in excess of $7,500. The threshold will be increased to 10 percent of adjusted gross income on Jan. 1, 2013, making it harder to itemize medical bills. However, individuals 65 and older can still itemize at 7.5 percent until 2017.
If you're getting the feeling that the sum total of these taxes and rule changes is to push people away from individual decision-making and toward a collective healthcare system of as yet amorphous form and arbitrary boundaries, you ain't alone. Michael F. Cannon of the Cato Institute has been warning that the Obama Administration's prodding of reluctant Americans to participate in the untested scheme exists in a quasi-legal realm all of its own. Cannon writes, "the IRS has announced it will impose ObamaCare’s taxes on employers and individuals whom Congress expressly exempted from those taxes, and will send potentially hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to private health insurance companies, also contrary to the plain language of the statute." He and Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University School of Law document their argument in an article available from the Social Science Research Network.
All in all, we may not know how Obamacare will work out, whether it will squeeze out private medicine or merely further corporatize an already... ummm... mixed-economy system of healthcare. But we do know that it will take a tight grip and suck more money out of our pockets and into government coffers. And that's as old-school as it comes, when you remember that physicians, once upon a time, applied leeches to their ailing patients.