Health Reform: A Chance to Get it Right

May 23, 2017

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CONTACT:
Kelly Broadway, 202.627.1918, kbroadway@eric.org

For Immediate Release

Health Reform: A Chance to Get it Right

Washington, DC – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) today submitted a letter to the Senate Finance Committee urging it to use health care reform as a vehicle to improve consumer-driven options for Americans, reduce health care taxes, and improve public sector programs to focus on value.

As the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the state, federal, and local levels, ERIC and its members are committed to improving the health care system, reducing the costs of health insurance and health care, and reducing the burdens on plan sponsors who voluntarily offer high-quality benefits to employees, retirees, and their families.

In its letter, ERIC praised the Committee for its work to advance the use of health savings accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and asked the Committee to support the House proposal to nearly double the annual limitation on contributions to HSAs allowing workers to save more money.

To improve consumer-directed health options, ERIC also encouraged the Committee to:

  • Fix the tax code to ensure that HSA and high-deductible plan beneficiaries have access to supplemental benefits;
  • Allow consumers to use their health accounts to purchase over-the-counter medicines for the treatment of common ailments; and
  • Update rules to ensure those enrolled in HSA-compatible plans can benefit from first-dollar coverage for prescription drugs and other medical products and services likely to prevent or reduce catastrophic episodes later.

ERIC urged the Committee to repeal all onerous taxes put in place by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), calling on the Chairman Hatch to cosponsor the “Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017”, and then to support an amendment to completely eradicate the dangerous Cadillac tax on employer-sponsored health benefits.

“The single most dangerous threat to employer-sponsored health benefits is the 40 percent ‘Cadillac’ excise tax. This tax on benefits will cause benefits to degrade in quality while growing much more expensive to plan beneficiaries at the same time,” said Annette Guarisco Fildes, president and CEO, ERIC. “The Cadillac tax will eventually consume all health care plans, putting women, seniors, low-income families, the disabled, and traditional employers with diverse workforces at a dangerous disadvantage.”

In addition to repealing the “Cadillac” tax, the letter asked for the elimination of other ACA-created taxes and the removal of unnecessary and burdensome reporting requirements.

ERIC requested that the Committee take steps to implement value-based care and market-based strategies in public programs — including value-based payment, transparency, consumer engagement, and data-driven quality improvements — that have the proven potential to incentivize high-quality patient care.

“Value-based care helps to drive government efficiency, effectiveness and accountability. By advancing value-driven care within the public sector, which insures about 100 million Americans, we can improve care while also saving significant amounts of taxpayer dollars,” said Guarisco Fildes.

ERIC recently launched the DRIVE Health Initiative with the Pacific Business Group on Health to accelerate economic growth by controlling health costs and improving quality through the rapid adoption of value-based health care. Click here to learn more about the initiative.

Click here to read ERIC’s letter in its entirety.

About The ERISA Industry Committee

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the state, federal, and local levels. Learn more at eric.org