ICYMI: Kelly Health Care Reform Bill Praised in U.S. News & World Report

Aug 24, 2015 Issues: Health Care

“A bill from Rep. Mike Kelly is non-partisan, non-ideological and would make the world a better place”

WASHINGTON — Legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) to reform health care law was recently featured by U.S. News & World in an article titled, “Health Care Heaven.” The bipartisan bill (H.R. 1752) would allow members of Health Care Sharing Ministries to use Health Savings Accounts without having to purchase a high deductible health plan.

Excerpts from the article:

In plain English, the one-sentence Kelly bill would allow millions of people of faith to save tax-free for their medical expenses. It would do this by opening up the popular Health Savings Accounts program to hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been inadvertently shut out of it because of their religious practice. Specifically, the bill would amend the tax code to treat membership in a health care sharing ministry as equivalent to owning a high-deductible health plan, for purposes of having an HSA.

An HSA is a tax-favored savings vehicle first created in 2003 and today enjoyed by more than 15 million Americans. With one, you owe less in taxes, because contributions to the account reduce your taxable income. … But there's a problem, and this is the reason for Kelly's bill: To qualify for an HSA, you have to have a high-deductible health plan, which by definition is insurance. Millions of Americans decline to carry insurance for religious or ethical reasons. These Americans can never qualify for an HSA. It's not that they're insurance slackers or free riders; they just choose to provide for their medical expenses in a different way. Kelly's bill would fix this problem by allowing those who participate in a recognized health care sharing ministry to have an HSA.

Health Savings Accounts and health care sharing are naturally complementary – a match made in heaven … In uniting the two concepts, Kelly has done something astonishing. He has come up with a non-partisan, non-ideological, non-controversial health care reform that would actually make the world better.

NOTE: Health Care Sharing Ministries are religious non-profit associations that serve more than 170,000 households nationwide who choose to share medical expenses as a result of their belief that individuals and families should bear the primary responsibility of paying for their own health care. Under current law, HCSMs are already recognized as valid insurance alternatives. However, they cannot offer HSAs, which are only available to taxpayers who purchase high-deductible health plans. Rep. Kelly’s legislation would change this.