But I really wanted to hear the opinion of my rebbe in these matters of United States Law and how it affects us in Israel. I'm referring to Yitzhak Heimowitz, known as "our lawyer" by New York Betarim of my generation.
I asked Yitz to summarize the proposed law and his opinion of it. Here's what he sent me:
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives (House) are considering bills for health insurance reform, a major Obama campaign promise. The purpose of the law, when enacted, will be to force all Americans to buy health insurance from "qualified insurers", a term which will not be defined for some time to come.
Americans who do not buy such health insurance will be encouraged to buy it, or punished by having to pay an excise tax of $750 per person per year, for which they will get nothing.
Americans who live outside the US are unable to obtain health insurance from American carriers, because these do not provide services abroad. Medicare and Medicaid only provide services in the US, not outside. In the past when an effort was made to set up an HMO in Israel to enable such services, it was not successful.
Thus the law will force American citizens abroad to buy insurance from which they cannot benefit, and if they don't, it will punish them by charging them the $750 excise tax. For us it will be a lose - lose situation.
The House bill recognizes this and exempts Americans abroad from the penalty. The Senate bill does not. We are trying to explain this injustice to the Senators so they will also include the exemption, as the House bill does.
If the Senate and the House pass different bills, which is quite likely, there will be a conference committee of members of the Senate and the House to compromise the differences. If by then both bills do not provide the exemption for Americans abroad, the conference committee will provide another chance.
One of the causes of the American revolution was "taxation without representation". We must do our best to remind the Senate of that.