Covering Washington

Rep. Steve Stivers proposes changes to flexible spending accounts as part of health care reform

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As President Donald Trump talks about eliminating the Affordable Care Act, his administration is taking action.

The Justice Department is calling for the ACA to be eliminated, including the Medicaid expansion and legal protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Critics say Trump promised to protect those with pre-existing conditions, and those in his own party are working to find a viable replacement for the controversial health care law.

Republican Congressman Steve Stivers sat down with NBC4’s Colleen Marshall to talk about how changing the regulations on flexible spending accounts may be part of the answer to the country’s health care woes.

“Seventy-seven million Americans have access to what’s called a flexible spending account for health care,” Stivers said. But there’s two problems with it: [First] the amount that you can put into a flexible spending account is only $2,700 a year and second, its use it or lose it. If you don’t use that money by Dec. 31, it’s gone.

Stivers is sponsoring a bill that would allow consumers to put up to $5,000 of pre-tax money into a flexible spending account that could be rolled over if it isn’t used by the end of the year.

“The average consumer spends over $5,500 on out-of-pocket expenses on health care,” he said. “This is a way to make out-of-pocket expenses more affordable because they become pretax dollars and they can save them a little at a time and let it build up because it’s not use it or lose it anymore.”

Stivers has championed these specific changes for some time. A measure addressing them passed the House last year, but it ran out of time in the Senate. Still, Stivers remains optimistic.

“I don’t think there’s anybody who is actively working against changing this provision, but just like anything in Washington, it’s going to take time to get awareness of issues and we’re gonna work to make it happen,” he said.

Stivers is also attempting to tackle health care for women and children with the Quality Care for Mothers and Babies Act. The bipartisan bill would study the causes of rising infant mortality rates around the country and will put in place best practices for reducing infant deaths.

“It’s another one of those things that isn’t partisan, that we can agree on and we just need to get it done,” Stivers said.

You can watch Colleen’s full interview with Stivers above.

 


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