President Trump is moving at breakneck speed to deliver real relief to patients struggling with outrageous medical bills.
Over the past three years, the Trump administration has proposed a long list of historic healthcare initiatives that directly challenge the entrenched medical industrial complex of pharmacy benefit managers, insurance companies and special interest groups. All of these proposals have come while also responding to an unending barrage of roadblocks and global crises.
Congress, meanwhile, is content with inaction. Surprised? Hardly.
Congress is currently sitting on two pro-patient bills that would offer real and meaningful reforms to our broken health care system. Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Chip Roy have challenged high-pressure opposition from special interests with sensible healthcare solutions.
Senate Bill 3112 strengthens and expands access to Health Savings Accounts, which are currently restricted to a limited number of American patients. HSAs are an incredibly powerful medical savings tool, offering triple tax-free medical savings. The money contributed to an HSA is not taxed by the federal government, gains interest tax-free and can be withdrawn to pay for certain medical expenses without paying tax on the increase in value. Currently, you can only have an HSA if you have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).
HSAs have no minimum triple tax-free contribution, there are only maximum amounts which are increased in these bills. Folks could put $10, $25, $50, or $100 per month away for future medical expenses if they wanted to. An HSA doesn’t have to be “maxed out.”
Every American should have access to these incredible tax free “savings” accounts. HSAs are not, and should not be, just for the “rich” as some claim they are. HSAs are and should be accessible to all income levels. Period.
“I’m fighting to put patients and their doctors back in control of their health care, instead of Washington bureaucrats,” Senator Cruz said in a press release announcing the reform legislation. “By expanding this important savings tool, the Personalized Care Act increases portability, expands access, makes it easier to save for the costs of health insurance premiums and medical care.”
In addition to expanding HSA eligibility, the bill also increases HSA contribution limits, allows patients to use their HSAs to pay for health insurance premiums, and gives patients the option to escape the broken insurance system with a direct primary care physician.
With Direct Primary Care, patients cut out insurance and work directly with a doctor. It delivers real value to patients without the hassles and headaches of insurance. It is the first successful, fully transparent, affordable, accessible, attentive, and innovative form of medical delivery to hit this country in decades, possibly the last century. I know that’s a lot of adjectives, but they are all true. And it’s been done, and continues to be done, by hundreds of primary care physicians (family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine and specialists are also jumping on board) by THEMSELVES—without the help of useless government over-regulation, insurance companies, hospital systems, the “middlemen”.
Backing up his fellow Texan, Congressman Roy has introduced HR5596, a measure in the House of Representatives that mirrors Senator Cruz’s bill. Who doesn’t love the one-two punch of a companion bill that gives Americans CHOICE, CONTROL of their healthcare dollars?
Patients should also beware two bills that would limit choice and empower healthcare special interests. HR3708, sponsored by Congressman Blumenauer of Oregon, and S.2999, sponsored by Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, would limit people’s ability to have CHOICE and CONTROL of their healthcare dollars and is an effort to stop the growth of free market reform.
Americans want and need lower health care costs, choice and competition. And they want it now. Congress, the American public is waiting. Give the people control of their own health care dollars please.
Take Action: Support Expansion of HSAs to All Patients
Contact your US Senator and Congressperson to support S.3112 and H.R.5596 so healthcare choice and control can be returned to patients.
About the Author: Dr. Kimberly Corba
Dr. Kimberly Legg Corba is a board-certified family physician in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
In January 2016, she opened the first Direct Primary Care office in the Greater Lehigh Valley. As a member of the Board of Directors of DPC Action, she and her colleagues regularly engage in promoting federal and state policy and legislation in order to advance private practice DPC across the US.
Dr. Corba founded the non-profit Pennsylvania Direct Primary Care Association® to represent all independent DPC offices in Pennsylvania. This year, the organization was the proud recipient of the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s first annual Practice Innovation Grant to educate about the affordable, attentive, and accessible medical care provided to patients of independent DPC offices.