Mike Johanns and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) introduced a bill Tuesday to repeal new restrictions on health savings accounts (HSA) and flexible spending accounts.Johanns said the Presidentís health care law caps contributions to $2,500 a year and another provision prohibits HSA and FSA participants from using their own account dollars to purchase over-the-counter medicines without a prescription.
Johanns said the changes are arbitrary and time-consuming, unwise and unfair.
"Requiring prescriptions for aspirin or a doctorís visit for hay-fever is not health care reform, itís government overreach and interference," he said. "Families with children who have special needs are among those who rely heavily upon these accounts and they shouldnít be punished."
HSAs and FSAs are special spending accounts that allow individuals to set aside pre-tax money for their health care costs. Prior to the health care law, FSAs had no contribution limits, allowing families to plan for known or routine out-of-pocket health expenses not covered by insurance plans.
Johanns said families can use FSA accounts to pay for special education costs, which can cost up to $14,000 a year.
Many families use these special health care accounts for extra contact lenses, reading glasses and over-the-counter cold or allergy medications, Johanns said.
The Johanns-Paulsen legislation currently has 11 cosponsors in the Senate and 35 in the House.