Authored by Joseph Lord via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) has introduced a bill that would make tax-free Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) available to all Americans.
Currently, most Americans cannot use HSAs due to the stringent rules that govern their use: only those who pay an abnormally high insurance deductible can take advantage of the pre-tax program. In practice, this means that 90 percent of Americans are not eligible for HSAs.
Roy’s bill, dubbed the Healthcare Freedom Act, would change the rules to make all Americans eligible for HSA accounts.
To do this, the bill would de-link eligibility for an HSA, renamed a “Health Freedom Account” by the legislation, from health insurance requirements.
Many patients who pay high-deductible policies—which have grown more popular among employers over the past two decades—never meet their annual deductible, meaning any money they paid on the policy was effectively wasted. Because of the increased prevalence of high-deductible health insurance policies, many Americans have had to rely on savings to cover their day-to-day medical expenses.
Additionally, the bill would increase the maximum annual contribution to HSAs from $3,650 to $12,000, or to $24,000 for a joint contribution.
In effect, this would allow American families to pay less in taxes annually and direct more money to HSAs.
The bill would also expand permitted expenses under an HSA, allowing contributors to make tax-free withdrawals to pay for health insurance and associated costs, direct primary care arrangements, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and others.
Roy told The Epoch Times in a statement on the legislation that his bill would be a win for patient choice.
“Patients and their doctors should be driving our health care system—not politicians, and not government or corporate bureaucrats,” Roy said.
He added that collusion between government and health care insurers against HSAs had led to increased medical costs for Americans.
“The American people are absolutely fed up with Big Health care, government bureaucrats, and Congress destroying affordable access to the greatest medical care in the world,” Roy said. “It’s time to cut through the knot of government-corporate collusion and put power back in the hands of those who actually provide it and those who actually receive it.”
Roy concluded, “I refuse to sit back and watch our government completely decimate health care freedom, and the Healthcare Freedom Act is a crucial step forward to saving it.”
The legislation, which Roy also introduced during the 117th Congress, has won the praise of Americans for Prosperity, a free market non-profit.
“Tax-free Health Savings Accounts save people money and give them more control over their health care by putting them in charge of their health care dollars,” said Dean Clancy, senior health policy fellow at Americans for Prosperity. “The fact that 90 percent of Americans can’t have an HSA is a major injustice that must be addressed if we truly want to reduce health care costs and make the health system more responsive to patients. Expanding access to HSAs is key to creating more personalized options in health care, and we applaud Rep. Roy for including this solution in his Healthcare Freedom Act.”
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