Bush to ‘Reiterate’ Support for Proposals to Expand MSAs, Establish Association Health Plans
President Bush today is expected to call for proposals that would help small businesses cover the cost of health insurance for employees, the Wall Street Journal reports. In particular, Bush plans to "reiterate his support" for reducing the deductible for tax-free medical savings accounts, which allow employees to save a portion of their incomes to cover the cost of medical services, and lifting the cap on the number of individuals who can open an MSA (VandeHei, Wall Street Journal, 3/19). In his fiscal year 2003 budget blueprint, Bush is seeking $14 billion over 10 years to expand MSAs. He supports proposals that would allow all employees, not only those in small businesses, to open an MSA and to permit individuals with MSAs to roll over unused funds for use in a future year or to a 401(k) retirement plan (California Healthline, 2/12). Most Democrats oppose those proposals, the Journal reports. Bush also plans to give support today to a proposal sponsored by the National Federation of Independent Businesses that would allow small businesses to pool together to purchase health coverage for their employees. According to the NFIB, the proposal would spread the risk and cost of health insurance among employers in different states and, as a result, "drive down" health care costs for thousands of small businesses (Wall Street Journal, 3/19). Bush will speak about these proposals in an informal discussion today with small business owners and employees (Koffler, CongressDaily, 3/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.