House approves bipartisan health care-related tax packages

The House has cleared two bipartisan health care-related tax packages. The packages, combining several bills, aim to expand health savings accounts (HSAs) and the health insurance premium tax credit, as well as delay the so-called “health insurance tax,” among other things.

HSAs. The Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Bill of 2018 (H.R. 6311) was approved by the House on the evening of July 25 by a 242-to-176 vote. The measure, among other things, would delay the annual fee for health insurance providers through 2021 and increase access to catastrophic “copper” plans as well as allow coverage to be used with HSAs.

The Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Account Bill (H.R. 6199) cleared the House by a 277-to-142 vote. The measure, among other things, would expand access to HSAs, and it would allow certain over-the-counter products to be considered qualified medical expenses. Additionally, the measure would allow HSA funds to be used for certain gym memberships and exercise equipment.

JCT. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that H.R. 6311 would cost nearly $49 billion over 10 years (JCX-67-18). Further, the JCT estimates H.R. 6199 would cost close to $20 billion over a 10-year period (JCX-66-17).

Senate. How the health care-related tax packages will fare in the Senate remains to be seen. At this time, the Senate is not expected to approve the packages in their entirety. Several Republican and Democratic senators have expressed doubts as to the measures’ chances of success. Notably, lawmakers are concerned with the estimated costs and lack of pay-fors. Brady has reportedly said that he is hopeful the Senate will identify and prioritize various provisions of the bills.

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