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Ways and Means Turns Attention to Health Accounts

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Leaders of a key congressional panel are about to turn  their attention to health savings accounts (HSAs) and other personal health accounts.

The House Ways and Means health subcommittee is preparing to hold a hearing on health accounts at 11 a.m. Wednesday, on Capitol Hill.

(Related: How Dr. Bill Wants to Change Health Insurance Now)

A copy of the hearing notice is available here.

The committee will stream video of the hearing live on the web.

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., the chairman of the health subcommittee, says in the hearing announcement that the witnesses will address topics such as trends in health account enrollment and demographics, and on “policies designed to give more consumers access to tax-favored savings accounts, including health savings accounts.”

Expanding access to HSAs has been a key feature of almost all Republican proposals for changing or replacing the current Affordable Care Act system.

During the current session of Congress, House Republicans have introduced 26 bills that refer to “health savings accounts” and 16 that refer to “health reimbursement arrangements.”

Some Democrats oppose expansion of health account programs, arguing that the programs cost the federal government large amounts of tax revenue without doing much to help the people who have the most difficulty for paying for care.

But, in some cases, Republican advocates of expanding federal health account programs have been able to persuade Democrats to cross party lines to support account program proposals.

The administration of former President Barack Obama reflected the split among Democrats on health account issues: The administration made no efforts to help health account programs but no major efforts to eliminate the programs.

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