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Barrow Introduces Bipartisan Bill Allowing Use of Medical Savings Accounts to Purchase Medications

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Restoring Access to Medication Act, with Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) to repeal a provision included in President Barack Obama's health care law. The bill would repeal language that prohibits individuals from using medical savings accounts to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

"While health care costs continue to go up, folks are being told that they can't use lower cost, over-the-counter drugs unless they go to the trouble and pay the cost of getting a prescription," said Congressman Barrow. "That defeats the whole purpose of making drugs available over the counter, and prevents folks from making their own health care decisions. This provision in the Affordable Care Act would be a huge burden on families looking to purchase basic, OTC medicine. I'm proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan legislation, and I hope that our colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join us in passing it into law."

Prior to enactment of the Affordable Care Act, consumers could use Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA), or other medical savings account to purchase OTC medications. Under the law, participants in these accounts may no longer purchase OTC medications, unless they have a prescription for the medication.

According to a study by Consumer Healthcare Products Association, more than 90 percent of Americans prefer to seek treatment with OTCs before seeing a health care provider. In addition, the availability of OTC saves $102 billion annually in clinical and drug costs.

The legislation has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, pharmacist groups, drug store organizations and consumer groups.

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