A House Ways and Means Committee subcommittee presented several critics of high-deductible health plans and account-based plans Wednesday at a hearing.
Rep. Pete Stark, D- Calif., chairman of the Ways and Means Committee’s Health Subcommittee, noted in the hearing announcement that he believes health savings accounts and high deductible plans “are a flawed policy approach to making health care more affordable.”
“Instead of using the tax code to encourage people to purchase coverage that may be woefully inadequate, we should focus on providing comprehensive health care coverage to those most in need in the most cost-efficient way possible,” Stark argued.
One hearing witness, Wayne Sensor, chief executive of Alegent Health, Omaha, Neb., a hospital company, spoke in defense of HSAs.
Alegent Health has set up its own, voluntary HSA program, and the company’s health care costs have increased just 5.1% per year over the first 2 program years, compared with industry trends in the 10% to 15% range, Sensor testified.
“Our employees are healthier,” Sensor added, reporting that more than 500 employees have completed smoking-cessation programs that weight-loss program participants have lost a total of about 13,000 pounds