Ways and Means panel mulls ACA coverage for OTC medicines
The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee on April 25 considered a billion provision sic. 9003) in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that prohibits using certain tax-favored spending plans to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. GOP lawmakers said requiring taxpayers to visit a doctor is tantamount to a tax increase that would clog physicians’ offices, thereby reducing health care access for millions of American families. The provision, which was intended to improve tax compliance and reform tax expenditures, was first suggested by the Joint Committee on Taxation in 2005, subcommittee Democrats countered. The provision took effect on January 1, 2011.
Charles Boustany (R-La) said, in his opening statement, that the Act “required that consumers using tax-advantaged plans must first obtain a doctor’s prescription in order to use their tax-preferred account funds to purchase over-the-counter medication. This provision alone is a $5 billion tax increase on the American people.”
Scott Millivolt, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group, testified that using flexible spending arrangements and health savings accounts to pay for OTC. medicines could eliminate about 20 million office visits each year and save about $5 billion in health care costs. Millivolt said there is no medical justification for requiring an office visit before buying OTC medicines with a spending plan.
However, Paul N. Van De Water, a Senior Fellow of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the use of tax-advantaged accounts encourages the overconsumption of health care. The accounts make taxpayers less price-sensitive and reduce the effects of the cost-sharing requirement in controlling utilization, he testified.
Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act (S. 846) on Thursday, April 25, 2013, a measure that would allow employees to take unpaid leave to care for a same-sex spouse or partner, parent-in-law, adult child, sibling, grandchild or grandparent.
“While groundbreaking at the time if [Read more...]
In 2012, 10.5 percent of families included an unemployed person, down 1.0 percentage point from 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported April 26. Of the nation’s 80.1 million families, 80.0 percent had at least one employed member in 2012.
Families and unemployment. The number of families with at least one member unemployed decreased to [Read more...]
As anticipated, the Obama administration today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the D.C. Circuit’s ruling in Noel Canning v NLRB, a January 2013 decision that invalidated the President’s recess appointments to the NLRB. As the questions presented in the government’s cert petition attest, the issues at stake before the High Court are much [Read more...]
Arkansas has joined the list of a growing number of states enacting social media privacy laws.
Under House Bill 1901, enacted April 22, an employer is prohibited from requiring that employees and job applicants (1) disclose usernames and passwords to their social media accounts, which include accounts established with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Instagram; (2) [Read more...]
The Supreme Court on April 24, heard oral argument in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v Nassar (Dkt No 12-484), a Fifth Circuit decision examining whether a plaintiff is required to prove but-for causation, or only that the employer had a mixed motive for an employment action, in causes of action where mixed-motive claims are not [Read more...]