House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) delivered the following opening statement at a Subcommittee Hearing on Lowering Costs and Expanding Access to Health Care through Consumer-Directed Health Plans.
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Remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Welcome to the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing on Lowering Costs and Expanding Access to Health Care through Consumer-Directed Health Plans.
"It is my pleasure to welcome our four witnesses today as we continue our discussion on lowering health care costs and increasing access to affordable insurance options.
"Health care reform should empower individuals and families to make decisions for themselves based on what fits their needs and budget. One of the best tools we have to accomplish this goal is consumer-directed health plans that are paired with Health Savings Accounts or "HSAs.' These plans offer lower premiums and a higher deductible to encourage better use of health care services. Engaging consumers in their health care spending is critical to reining in our system's ever-increasing costs. These plans continue to increase in popularity, now covering more than 21.8 million Americans.
"Today, our panel will update us on how Health Savings Accounts are working for American families and employers. We are going to hear interesting data on current enrollment trends and demographic information on the millions of people enrolled in HSAs and other tax-preferred savings accounts.
"We will also discuss the many benefits of consumer-directed health plans and their potential to lower costs overall.
"I'm excited to also hear what role these plans can play in fostering more price transparency.
"In addition, our witnesses will tell us about the barriers employers and individuals face when trying to offer or enroll in an HSA-qualified plan. Finally, we will examine the various reform ideas, including many authored by members of this subcommittee, that are aimed at expanding access to HSAs.
"Our goal is to use this hearing as an opportunity to discuss how we can give more people this affordable option for coverage while still preserving the right structural incentives to bend the health care cost curve and keep premiums low.
"I appreciate the knowledgeable testimonies of the witnesses here today and this Subcommittee looks forward to fleshing out the details of how best to improve HSAs throughout this hearing."