The Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen and Sen. Orin Hatch, is a key piece of legislation combating a few of the almost innumerable disadvantages of Obamacare.
However, according to a Minnesota Public Radio report, one of the bills most important points is a push for Congress to repeal Obamacare regulations on Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).
HSAs and FSAs typically reduce health care costs because payments come directly from consumer pockets, forcing Americans to act more fiscally responsible than they would if procedures were covered by third-party payers.
As stated by Kathryn Nix of The Heritage Foundation:
“A major problem with our health system is that consumers typically have little say in how their health care dollars are spent. HSAs and FSAs help vest that decision-making power in the hands of consumers, rather than in HSS bureaucrats.”
Yet, Obamacare put restrictions on FSAs and HSAs. One restriction is Americans cannot use their accounts to pay for over-the-counter medication unless they have a prescription. Consumers would need to a prescription for things as simple as dietary supplements or allergy medication or even nicotine gum.
Additionally, Obamacare puts a blanket limit on the amount of money all Americans can put into their account, only $2,500 per year. The limit, usually ranging from $4,000 to $6,000 according to a New Ledger report, is usually decided upon between employers and employees. Therefore, the health care overhaul removes even more consumer authority over one’s own health care.
Also, Obamacare charges a 20% tax penalty for using HSA funds for non-medical costs – a way for the federal government to generate more money to pay for the deplorable law.
Yet, due to efforts by Rep. Paulsen and Sen. Hatch, there might be hope.
The Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011 would reverse the regulations, allowing HSAs and FSAs to be used without a prescription and would remove the $2,500 account limit, ultimately returning choice and convenience to consumers.
The bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Health on June 3rd.