Ways and Means Advances 7 Bills to Improve Access to Care, Provide Targeted Relief from ObamaCare

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Today, the House Ways and Means Committee passed seven commonsense proposals that will help increase health care flexibility and choice for all Americans.As Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said:

“These bills are another demonstration of our commitment to identifying and advancing member-driven solutions that provide Americans more access, better choices, and greater flexibility in health care.

“In fact, each of them is a product of our Health Subcommittee’s recent Member Day hearing on tax-related proposals to improve health care.”

The first four health bills the Committee passed today promote innovation and empower individuals and families to make their own decisions about health care spending. Each bill expands access to consumer-driven health care options, such as Health Reimbursement Arrangements or Health Savings Accounts. The bills include :

  • The Small Business Health Care Relief Act (H.R. 5447), sponsored by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), which allows employers to provide innovative employer payment arrangements;
  • The Veterans TRICARE Choice Act (H.R. 5458), sponsored by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), which provides more options for those eligible for TRICARE;
  • The Native Americans Health Savings Improvement Act (H.R. 5452), sponsored by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI), which improves access to Health Savings Accounts for those who receive services at Indian Health Service facilities; and
  • The Health Care Security Act of 2016 (H.R. 5445), sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), which makes several commonsense reforms to expand access to HSAs, including increasing the annual contribution limits, allowing for catch-up contributions to the same account, and allowing for more flexibility between incurring expenses and actually setting up an account.

As Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Boustany, said during the markup:

“It is a rare occasion these days to find members from opposite sides of the aisle coming together in this constructive fashion to solve a problem that has the potential to directly impact small employers and Americans in a positive way.

“The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act would not only help small employers provide a competitive health benefit to their employees, but also ensure we expand the universe of individuals who have the opportunity to afford health coverage, and even help with some of their out-of-pocket healthcare costs.”

The final three pieces of legislation the Committee passed today repeal specific Obamacare provisions that hold down job growth and increase taxes. As Chairman Brady explained, these bills “provide targeted relief as we push forward with our plan to fully repeal that law and replace it with patient-focused alternatives.”

The bills include :

  • The Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act (H.R. 3080), sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), which eliminates Obamacare’s employer mandate for tribally owned businesses;
  • The Student Worker Exemption Act of 2015 (H.R. 210), sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), which provides universities relief from the employer mandate for hours worked by student workers; and
  • The Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act (H.R. 3590), sponsored by Martha McSally (R-AZ), which repeals a provision of Obamacare that makes it harder to deduct high cost medical expenses.

Emphasizing the Committee’s commitment to advancing reforms through regular order, Chairman Brady said:

“All seven of the bills before us today are innovative, member-driven solutions. I’m grateful to everyone on and off our Committee who worked hard to put these bills together. By advancing these bills today, we can demonstrate that we are serious about addressing major challenges in health care.”

CLICK HERE for more information about today’s markup.

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