Congressmen Introduce Bill to Repeal HSA Provision of ACA
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate introduced bipartisan legislation last week to repeal a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA provision, effective since January 1, 2011, requires a prescription for buying over-the-counter (OTC) medications with medical savings accounts (e.g., health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts).
The proposed legislation, titled the Restoring Access to Medication Act (S.1368/H.R.2529), was introduced by Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) in the Senate and Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Shelley Berkley (D-NV) in the House. If passed, the bill would allow consumers participating in a medical savings account to use funds from their account to purchase over-the-counter medications without first getting a prescription.
The proposed legislation has support from physicians and consumer advocacy groups. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents manufacturers and distributers of OTC medicines, has released a statement of support for the legislation. The CHPA also cited a recent survey that found 90% of consumers prefer to use OTC medications for treatment before seeing a healthcare provider. Physicians have reported an increase in medical appointments for the sole purpose of writing prescriptions for OTC medications.
The proposed legislation has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees.