PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: Treasury Head Opposes GOP Access Ideas
In the latest episode of the patients' rights saga, Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said Friday he will advise President Clinton to veto the managed care bill if it contains GOP-backed tax "access" provisions, calling the measures "unacceptable," CongressDaily reports. The access measures include the controversial medical savings accounts; tax deductions for the self- employed; deductions for people paying more than half of their health insurance; long term care deductions; and caregiver deductions. The measures appear in both the House and Senate managed care bills passed earlier this year. According to Summers, "(T)he proposals are expansive, would not expand coverage significantly and could substantially increase premiums for some Americans with traditional health insurance coverage." He also said the proposals would provide new tax shelters for the wealthy. House Ways and Means ranking member Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) agreed, accusing the GOP of using the provisions as a political ploy. "The Republican leadership's insistence on attaching this bloated package of tax breaks is their way of keeping the patients' bill of rights from becoming law," he said. Republicans claim, however, that the access measures will spur more health care coverage, lower costs and reduce the health insurance tax burden for patients (Fulton, 7/24).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.