Posted by: brucestein | April 17, 2008

HR 5719

I think it’s fitting that I was in our nation’s capitol on tax day.  After all, TASC is in the business
of saving you tax dollars.  While there, I participated in an important event held at the White
House: the Fourth Annual Health Savings Account (HSA) Briefing.  Julie Goon, Special
Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, announced that because the President struggles
with HR 5719, he will veto it if it makes it to his desk.  Of course, this bill caught my attention! 
It will require HSAs to have claim substantiation rules similar to those now in place for Flexible
Spending Accounts (FSAs).

 

I believe various factors will work to improve the chances that this bill will pass, despite the President’s concerns.  First, a significant portion of the bill has bi-partisan support.  In fact, a floor vote in the House passed while I was in Washington.  Second, the original bill’s effective date was modified from January 1, 2009 to January 1, 2011.  This delay will significantly soften the blow on Participants and gives us in the industry more time to adjust our operations.  Third, the HSA-related portion of this bill contains elements of how the government will pay for the some of the other provisions in the bill, thereby eliminating a grievance all too common with new legislation.  And fourth, the House Ways and Means Committee has reviewed evidence of HSA funds being used errantly for non-medical expenses. 

 

TASC’s position is consistent, whether we’re talking about HSAs or Medical Savings Accounts:  we support any legal tool that can help to make healthcare more affordable for each and every one of us.  Further, for some time we have advocated a reduction in the amount of scrutiny FSA claims have received.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that claim substantiation parity for HSAs and FSAs will likely reduce the level of scrutiny both receive!  Most likely we will reach a point somewhere closer to the middle of an “evenhanded spectrum.” 

 

Reasonable, convenient and consistent.  These words describe TASC’s position.  I believe our nation’s business owners and employees who are participating in consumer drive health care (HSAs, FSAs and HRAs) would support this position…especially the hundreds of thousands who are TASC’s fortunate customers.

 

 

 

 


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