TAX CREDIT: Senate GOP Wants Relief for Self-Employed
Three Senate Republicans -- Finance Chair William Roth (DE), Rod Grams (MN) and Spencer Abraham (MI) -- introduced a measure yesterday that would put self-insured individuals on par with businesses with regard to tax breaks on health insurance. Under the Health Care Accessibility and Equity Act, self-insured individuals would be allowed to deduct 100% of their health insurance costs right off the bat. The bill would also liberalize access to the current Medical Savings Account pilot and allow individuals to roll over $500 from pre-tax flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to be used in the next year. The measure also aims to provide financial relief for long term care (LTC) by making LTC insurance tax-deductible and by permitting patients to pay for LTC expenses with their FSAs. Alluding to the ongoing Senate party line stalemate over managed care reform legislation, Grams said, "We've heard a lot of rhetoric about patient protections and why the federal government should step in and help consumers. Medical Savings Accounts allow the consumer to control costs, decide which provider to see, and which services they want to pay for" (Morrissey, 6/24).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.