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CHPA lobbies for OTC reimbursement in health reform bill

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Over-the-counter drugs would not be eligible for health savings account reimbursement without a doctor's prescription, under a provision of the health care reform bill draft released Sept. 16 by the Senate Finance Committee. OTCs would no longer be reimbursement-eligible under flexible spending arrangements and health reimbursement accounts or tax-free under health savings and Archer medical savings accounts, according to the draft (1"The Tan Sheet" July 20, 2009). Introduced by committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., the draft estimates the provision would save the government $2.3 billion over five years and $5.4 billion over 10 years, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association notes. Currently, employers have discretion to set limits for the accounts. The group also notes the draft "limits the amount of income that can be set aside in health FSAs to $2,000 per taxable year," estimated to save $4.3 billion over five years and $16.5 billion over 10 years. CHPA will continue to lobby Congress to amend or remove the provisions, and has organized and sent "coalition letters" to members. The committee is expected to begin marking up the proposal, America's Health Future Act of 2009, Sept. 22. Following markup, the bill will be fused with the health care reform bill passed in July by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

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