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Blackburn Introduces Health Care Choices for Seniors Act

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Location: Washington, DC


BLACKBURN INTRODUCES HEALTH CARE CHOICES FOR SENIORS ACT
January 13, 2006

Lets seniors keep Social Security benefits and their HSAs

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Representative Marsha Blackburn (TN-7th District) recently introduced H.R. 4551, the Health Care Choices for Seniors Act to give senior citizens the right to retain their Social Security benefits should they choose to opt out of Medicare Part A.

"Seniors shouldn't have to choose between keeping full use of their Health Savings Account (HSA) and their Social Security benefits," Blackburn said. "Right now we've got government regulations in place serving no purpose but to restrict seniors' freedom to manage their retirement and their healthcare as they see fit. I want these regulations out of the way so seniors have the power to both collect their Social Security benefits and retain their HSA. We've got a system riddled with pointless regulations and overly burdensome requirements and that's why I'm looking at ways to clear through some of the bureaucracy."

Currently, when individuals join Medicare, they lose the ability to make further tax-free contributions to their HSA and are unable to use the funds saved in their HSA to contract privately for healthcare services outside of Medicare. If individuals choose to waive their Medicare Part A entitlement because they prefer to keep their HSA, or for any other reason, they lose their Social Security benefits. Even though they have paid payroll taxes to fund those benefits during their entire working lives.

The Health Care Choices for Seniors Act splits the connection between Social Security and Medicare so that individuals could opt out of Medicare, keep their HSA, and still receive their Social Security Benefits. In addition, it provides a voucher for those that opt-out of Medicare in return for their years of paying Medicare payroll taxes, allows individuals to continue tax-free contributions to their HSA, and delays enrollment penalties until age 70 to allow seniors more flexibility to keep their HSA after age 65.

"We should be giving people more free-market options in how they manage their healthcare and this is one way we can do that," Blackburn added.

http://www.house.gov/blackburn/press/1.10.06.shtml

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