News & Press: Legislation

Ways and Means Committee Favorably Reports Health Care Legislation

Wednesday, October 23, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: William Sweetnam
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Ways and Means Committee Favorably Reports Health Care Legislation including the Repeal of the Prohibition on Reimbursing OTC Drug Costs through an FSA, HRA or HSA

Today the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives favorably reported out four health care bills – three of which are of interest to ECFC members.  The lead bill in the mark-up, the   Protecting American Lungs Act of 2019 (H.R. 4742), added an excise tax on nicotine used in vaping and raised revenue, which was used to offset cost of the three other bills.  The three bills of interest to ECFC members are:

·       H.R. 1922 which repeals the prohibition on over-the-counter medicines from being reimbursed form an HRAs, HSAs and FSAs effective for amounts paid after December 31, 2019.  The bill will also treat expenses for menstrual care products incurred after December 31, 2019 as a qualified medical expense. 

·       H.R. 4716 which allows inhalers for chronic lung disease (and any medicine or drug which is delivered through such inhaler for treatment of such disease) to be paid by HSA-qualified high deductible health plans before the deductible is met.  This will be effective in the month following the date of enactment.

·       H.R. 3708 added a new concept of direct primary care services to the Internal Revenue Code.  Under this bill, direct primary care service arrangement means, with respect to any individual, an arrangement under which such individual is provided medical care consisting solely of such primary care services provided by primary care practitioners if the sole compensation for such care is a fixed periodic fee. That fixed monthly fee cannot exceed $150 for an individual or $300 for more than one individual.  The bill provides that having a direct primary care arrangement will not result in an individual becoming ineligible to make contributions to an HSA and direct primary care arrangement payments will be considered a qualified medical expense.

The main issue in the mark-up pertained to the imposition of a new excise tax on nicotine used in vaping with the parties split on the issue of adding this new tax without having hearings on the issue.  The other bills passed on a voice vote, with no audible opposition.  

The next step is that the full House will need to take up these bills.  We will keep you informed on the progress of these bills in the House of Representatives.

William F. Sweetnam, Jr.

Legislative and Technical Director