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Letter to the House on the Restoring Access to Medication and Improving Health Savings Act of 2016 (H.R. 1270)

June 22, 2016

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association and the students they serve, we urge you to Vote No on the Restoring Access to Medication and Improving Health Savings Act of 2016 (H.R. 1270). Although this bill provides greater flexibility for individuals with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Flexible Spending Arrangements (Health FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), moderate to lower income Americans would bear the cost of these tax breaks. 

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this bill’s expansion of HSAs, Health FSAs and HRAs will cost $26.7 billion. It will be paid for by moderate to lower income people who earn between 250 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($29,425 to $47,080 for an individual) that will no longer receive premium assistance or drop their coverage.

Under current law, the ACA includes financial assistance in the form of the premium tax credit for eligible taxpayers with moderate to lower incomes - based upon their estimated income - who purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. These credits can be sent as advance payments in order to lower monthly insurance premiums. When filing taxes, if the advance credit payment is greater than the actual premium tax credit, based on an individual’s actual income and family size, the individual must repay the excess amount. These repayments are capped based upon income level which provides greater financial certainty and allows lower- and moderate income families to afford the cost of health care.

However, this bill would double the repayment cap for families with income between 250 and 300 percent of the federal poverty line resulting in repayment caps of $1,500 or $3,000, depending on tax filing status. It would also eliminate the cap altogether for people with incomes above 300 percent of the federal poverty level. More than 25 percent of the people who receive advanced premium tax credits are between the ages of 55 and 64. This group will be particularly hard hit financially as they will not only lose their tax credit and probably their coverage, they are also not yet eligible for Medicare. It is also estimated that 130,000 moderate income individuals will drop their coverage because of increased costs if H.R. 1270 is enacted.

We strongly support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which helps ensure health care access for millions of people across the country and provides an opportunity for Americans to obtain quality, affordable care. We urge you to Vote No on H.R. 1270 because the bill wrongly seeks to expand health care tax breaks for some taxpayers on the backs of lower- and moderate income families. 

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations