Health Reform Policy: Flexible Spending, Device Taxes and Waivers
One health law provision will be a bummer for people who use the tax-free dollars stored in flexible spending accounts, Kaiser Health News reports. "Starting in January, you'll no longer be able to use your FSA for over-the-counter drugs and medicines unless you have a doctor's prescription. Experts agree that the new rules will likely discourage people from tapping their FSAs for routine purchases of aspirin, vitamins, cough medicine and other drugstore essentials" (Andrews, 11/8).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: A tax on medical devices may be among the health law policies that Republicans review - and perhaps repeal. When the tax was proposed as a way to help pay for health care reform - with an initial pricetag at $40 billion over 10 years - the industry was strongly against it. A bipartisan coalition from Minnesota's congressional delegation banded together in fierce opposition. Ultimately, the amount was cut in half after intense lobbying on industry's part." Those lobbyists now hope a friendlier Republican-controlled House may help them scale it back even further (Moore, 11/8).
Bloomberg: Dish Network Corp. and Darden Restaurants Inc. are among dozens of companies and organizations the Obama administration has exempted from the U.S. health-care law mandating minimum benefits for workers. The Health and Human Services Department posted on its website today a list of the latest businesses that can avoid raising the minimum amount of insurance coverage to $750,000 starting next year. The requirements apply to so-called mini-med or limited benefit plans that employers use for low-wage or part-time workers (Armstrong, 11/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.