Walorski, Flores, Bucshon help push healthcare savings bills through House

U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Bill Flores (R-TX) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) on July 25 voted in support of two bills that would lower healthcare costs for Americans.

The U.S. House on Wednesday in a 277-142 vote approved the Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2018, H.R. 6199, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS). In addition, the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018, H.R. 6311, was led by U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and passed by a vote of 242-176. The U.S. Senate received both bills for consideration on July 26.

“The House passed two bills to enhance health savings accounts (HSA) and help put hard-working American families in control of their health care decisions,” Rep. Flores said following the votes.

“With rising premiums and fewer options, Hoosier families need more affordable health care and more control over how they pay for it,” added Rep. Walorski, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rep. Bucshon agreed that HSAs, which let families set aside money on a pre-tax basis to use for qualified health care costs, give Americans more affordable health care options.

“These bills will provide more affordable health care options by making it possible for greater numbers of Americans to contribute more money to an HSA while also giving more flexibility to families and individuals on how they can spend their funds,” Bucshon added.

H.R. 6311 would expand choice and access to lower-cost health care options, giving “families and individuals incentive to contribute pre-tax dollars to use for their health care purchases,” said Rep. Flores.

If enacted, the bill also would place a two-year delay on Obamacare’s health insurance tax (HIT), which the congressman said drives up the cost of insurance for many families and individuals.

On the House floor prior to the vote on H.R. 6311, Rep. Walorski called HIT “yet another damaging tax from Obamacare,” officially the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“It raises premiums for families, small businesses and seniors, and the disabled enrolled in Medicare Advantage,” she said. “In fact, the HIT could raise annual premiums for the typical Medicare Advantage couple by $500 if it returns in 2020.”

Rep. Walorski is an original cosponsor of H.R. 5963, the measure included in the House-approved H.R. 6311 that would delay the HIT until after 2020.

“I look forward to the day when we can finally repeal this tax that falls on the backs of seniors, the disabled, small businesses, and hardworking families, but until then I urge my colleagues to support delaying it,” the congresswoman said on the House floor.

Meanwhile, H.R. 6199 “improves access to and expands coverage of health savings accounts,” said Rep. Flores.

Specifically, H.R. 6199 would repeal provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, as added by the ACA, that limit payments for medications from health savings accounts, medical savings accounts, health flexible spending arrangements, and health reimbursement arrangements to only prescription drugs or insulin, according to the congressional record summary. This would allow distributions from such accounts for over-the-counter drugs.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said, “By modernizing and strengthening HSAs, we will help the nearly 22 million Americans who rely on them — that’s twice the number of Americans who get coverage under Obamacare’s exchanges.” Brady applauded the leadership of Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Roskam and committee member Jenkins, who he called “champions for patients across the country,” and also thanked several lawmakers for their efforts, including U.S. Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Michael Burgess (R-TX).

House passage of both bills will empower Americans “to make the health care decisions that best fits their needs,” said Rep. Flores, who said he remains committed to providing citizens with “21st century health care solutions that lower costs and encourage competition.”

“These common-sense solutions will improve flexibility, expand consumer choice, and bring down costs,” Rep. Walorski said. “By delaying the costly health insurance tax and modernizing tax-advantaged health savings accounts, we are taking an important step to empower families and help ease the financial burden of health care.”