Chip Roy, currently CD21’s Representative, said that he has been working to see Washington get out of the healthcare system. He has released his solution, named the Healthcare Freedom Act (H.R. 3594). This bill would expand today’s Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to make them available to everyone and increases the amount that can be contributed yearly to $12,000 per individual or $24,000 for a couple that files a joint tax return. This is a good thing for those who have enough extra after paying for their living expenses to put a lot of money into an HSA, which is fully tax free when paid in and when withdrawn for a health care expenditure.
Roy suggests that employers should switch to making contributions to their employees’ HSAs versus a group insurance plan. He recommends that individuals use the money from their HSAs to enter into a Direct Primary Care contract with their family doctors. Under this type of arrangement, the physician agrees to provide any and all primary care service for a monthly fee from the patient. Any need for specialists, labs, imaging, surgery, etc, would theoretically be covered by the money in the HSA, and possibly coupled with a high deductible insurance plan. Roy states ‘There should be a safety net to ensure no one falls through the cracks.’
H.R. 3594 only provides for a change in the amount that can be contributed to an HSA and enables anyone to be eligible to set one up. All of the rest of Roy’s plan is his take on what else should/could happen and his take on the resulting benefit to the patient.
Here are the flaws in Roy’s approach:
- A substantial portion of the population do not have the means to regularly put a sufficient amount of money into an HSA to make it truly useful.
- Who provides the ‘safety net’ that Roy mentions?
- The Healthcare Freedom Act would be helpful to some but is not a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act. If his plan were coupled with expanding Medicaid in Texas as 38 other states have already done, it would address the safety net issue.