When I first came across Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), I thought they seemed like a good way, or at least a decent way, to manage the challenges of health care for the self employed.
As you may know, the basic gist with HSAs is that you can put money away into them, pretax (that is, get a deduction) and then use this money to pay for all the things that aren't covered under a high deductible (or "catastrophic") health insurance plan.
But now I wonder. Why do you have to participate in a health plan in order to qualify for an HSA? If we really wanted to be free-market-entrepreneurial about it, why not let people have their HSA as a stand alone fund, regardless of participation in a costly individual health insurance plan? Entrepreneurs like artists could build up their HSA balances over time and basically self insure for most of their health care needs. The government could encourage this by letting contributions to these standalone HSAs continue to be pretax (and grow tax-deferred). People could then decide on their own whether or not they wanted to pay for coverage of catastrophic health care needs.
The reason it's not set up this way? Insurance lobbies of course. If artist entrepreneurs could have standalone HSAs, even more people would drop their expensive and largely unused insurance plans in favor of building up funds to self insure.
I put "HSA blog" into google, and came up with mostly industry shills. Places like: www.health--savings--accounts.com/hsa-weblog