Kelly Bills to Protect & Improve Health Care Passed by Ways & Means Committee

Jul 13, 2018

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – participated in this week’s full committee mark-up hearings to approve a series of legislation to expand consumer-directed health care and lower insurance premiums for American workers and families. Among the bills passed were the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 6305), which expands access to and enhances the utility of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and the Employer Relief Act of 2018 (H.R. 4616), which provides three years of retroactive relief and one year of prospective relief from the employer mandate provision within the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), paired with a one-year extended delay of the law’s “Cadillac Tax” on high-value health care plans. Rep. Kelly is an original sponsor of each of these bills.

Statement by Rep. Kelly on H.R. 6305:

“H.R. 6305 gives employers more flexibility to offer quality health care in the setting best for them, like on-site or retail clinics. Employers around our country are offering innovative ways to deliver health care to their associates, and this provision makes sure that individuals with HSAs can utilize these same services.

“Second, it fixes the HSA spouse penalty by allowing individuals to make HSA contributions if a spouse has a Flexible Spending Account, while preventing double-dipping in tax benefits. Third, it makes it easier for people to save for their health care by streamlining the conversion of other tax-preferred accounts to HSAs.

“Ultimately, this bill modernizes health care delivery and gives employers the freedom to innovate and improve their employees’ health insurance.

“We are trying to improve health care for all Americans. This means giving consumers a choice in their health care. This means incentivizing wellness and exercise, not sickness.  This means giving employers the freedom to design insurance products that work best for their associates. 

“I also want to thank my friend Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) for working on this together. This issue is extremely important for the 175 million people who get their health insurance from their employer, and therefore I hope we can get this commonsense legislation signed into law very soon.”

Statement on H.R. 4616:

“Mr. Nunes and I introduced this bill to give relief to Americans and employers struggling under Obamacare.

“H.R. 4616 delays the Cadillac Tax for one additional year, until 2023. We have discussed the Cadillac Tax at length in this committee and how it is a misguided policy in Obamacare. In fact, this is an issue that unites both Republicans and Democrats. My bill to permanently repeal the entire Cadillac Tax (H.R. 173) is close to 300 co-sponsors and already has a veto-proof majority of Republicans and Democrats.

“This bill (H.R. 4616) is good progress but we cannot lose sight of the goal: the full repeal of the Cadillac Tax. This tax continues to hang over the head of the 175 million Americans who receive health insurance through their employer.

“I am also pleased that we are giving relief to employers crushed under the employer mandate. Another misguided policy in Obamacare that the Obama administration never enforced, the employer mandate costs small businesses with just over 50 employees millions of dollars in unnecessary administrative compliance and reporting.

“I thank Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) for working with me on this legislation, but Mr. Chairman, let’s not lose sight of repealing all of Obamacare’s misguided taxes on hardworking Americans.”

BACKGROUND

Rep. Kelly has been a longtime leader in promoting legislation to enhance HSAs and to protect American workers’ health care benefits from Obamacare’s harmful Cadillac Tax.

On May 3, 2017, Rep. Kelly introduced the Faith in Health Savings Accounts Act (H.R. 2310, also known as the Faith in HSAs Act), which would allow members of Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSMs) to use HSAs to save money on medical expenses without having to purchase a high deductible health insurance plan. The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), and was previously introduced by Rep. Kelly in April 2015.

On March 1, 2018, Rep. Kelly introduced the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act (H.R. 5138), an earlier version of H.R. 6305 which would improve HSAs for millions of Americans by expanding access and increasing benefit flexibility, thereby making health care more affordable. It was co-authored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Ron Kind (D-WI), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Brain Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

On July 11, 2018, nearly 30 conservative leaders submitted an open letter to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) in support of the Committee’s legislative efforts to expand HSAs, including Rep. Kelly’s bill. The full letter can be viewed here.

On January 3, 2017, Rep. Kelly introduced the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017 (H.R. 173), which would fully repeal the Cadillac Tax provision in Obamacare. The controversial provision would impose a 40 percent excise tax on all employer-provided health insurance plans valued at more than $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for families. H.R. 173 is co-sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT).

On April 24, 2018, The Hill published a guest opinion piece authored by Rep. Kelly in which he described the damage being caused by the Cadillac Tax and argued for Congress to permanently repeal it. The full piece can be viewed here.

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