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Senators Santorum, Dole and Murkowski Introduce Legislation to Help More Working Americans Afford Health Coverage

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Location: Washington, DC


Senators Santorum, Dole and Murkowski Introduce Legislation to Help More Working Americans Afford Health Coverage

U.S. Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), today introduced the Helping Working Americans Afford Health Coverage Act of 2006, legislation to make health coverage more affordable and accessible. The bill would expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) by providing refundable tax credits to low and moderate-income Americans to purchase High Deductible Health Plans.

"I have been a long-time supporter of HSAs because consumers decide how their healthcare dollars are spent, not government bureaucrats or insurance companies. The legislation I am introducing today will promote and expand HSAs for low and moderate-income Americans, so that more Americans own their health coverage, rather than being dependent on government for their health care. Time after time Americans have rejected government funded and controlled health care. While there is much debate over insurance mandates for specific diseases or services, HSAs eliminate the need for mandates since the consumer ultimately decides what healthcare services meet their needs." said Senator Santorum.

"HSAs have been enormously effective in helping previously uninsured individuals gain the security that comes with having quality health coverage," said Senator Dole. "By providing a tax credit to our low and moderate-income families to purchase HSA-eligible coverage, we can target resources to help the most vulnerable families while also empowering them to make health care decisions based on their specific needs."

In 2003, the Congress passed legislation that expanded medical savings accounts into HSAs, creating opportunities for employees and employers to put money aside to be spent tax-free on qualified medical expenses. HSAs ultimately give people more flexibility and empower consumers to make smarter choices with their healthcare dollars. Studies have shown that low and moderate-income Americans, including many previously uninsured, are enrolling in HSAs. More than one-third of HSA purchasers last year had an annual income under $50,000 and one-third of individual HSA purchasers last year were previously uninsured.

The bill would create a progressive, refundable healthcare tax credit targeted towards low and moderate-income individuals that can be used for HSA-eligible health insurance.

http://santorum.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.View&ContentRecord_id=1777&Region_id=0&Issue_id=0

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