Call your Senator Today!
Demand a debate and vote on H.R. 436.
On Thursday June 7, the House passed H.R. 436 (read bill) which repeals the jobs-killing and patient-killing excise tax on medical devices (see Forbes June 8), repeals provisions included in Obamacare that disqualify expenses for over-the-counter drugs under Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and health flexible spending arrangements, and attempts to increase participation in medical flexible spending arrangements.
Monday in Forbes John Graham of PRI concludes, "Congress needs to keep moving on repealing the medical-device excise tax as soon as possible." Yet the Senate will try to avoid taking a vote on this important bill. We must let our Senators know that failing to stand up for patients' lives is unacceptable.
Find your Senator's contact information at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm .
The bill as passed by the House was a conglomeration of three bills and a fiscal offset passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee and combined by the House Rules Committee.
The three pieces of legislation + fiscal offset:
- H.R. 436, the “Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2011,” was introduced by Rep. Eric Paulsen (R-MN)
- This section would repeal the medical device excise tax included in Obamacare and scheduled to take effect in 2013. If allowed to take effect a 2.3 percent excise tax will be imposed on the manufacture or import of certain “medical devices” (as defined by section 201(h) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act).
- H.R. 5842, the “Restoring Access to Medication Act,” was introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
- This section restores the ability for patients to use their flexible spending and other medical accounts how they see fit. Obamacare eliminated, starting in 2012, the ability of taxpayers to use tax-free distributions from their flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), and Archer medical savings accounts for over-the-counter medicine other than prescription drugs or insulin.
- H.R. 1004, the “Medical FSA Improvement Act of 2011,” was introduced by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA)
- This section would allow employees with health FSAs funded through salary deductions to “cash out” any remaining balance at the end of the year up to a maximum of $500. Under current rules, an employee must forfeit to their employer any remaining balance in the FSA at the end of the year; a “use-it-or-lose-it” rule.
- Fiscal Offset: Recapture of overpayments resulting from certain federally-subsidized health insurance
- This section requires individuals who receive subsidies they are not entitled to under Obamacare to return the full amount. Obamacare allows many of these individuals to retain a portion of their incorrect subsidy.
While H.R. 436 doesn't fully restore the patient-physician relationship, it helps restore several important pieces that Obamacare attempted to do away with. There is still a lot of work to do, but we need to stand up and send a message for our patients today.
Call your Senator now and demand they consider H.R.436!
You can find your Senator's contact information at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm .
Let your Senator know:
- that you are a doctor that puts your patients first,
- that you will not support politicians that do not stand up for patients,
- and that physicians have had it with Washington DC's takeover of medicine.
This is just the first drum beat of many that we are going to take over the next several months to coincide with the upcoming Supreme Court ruling. Now is the time to start reclaiming our practices and standing up for our patients' rights.