The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Healthcare in the Spotlight in the House of Representatives

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives is considering two bills that would alleviate the strain Obamacare has placed squarely on the shoulders of businesses and taxpayers.

The House considered H.R. 5447, the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act.  This legislation, introduced by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), accomplishes two major goals:  allow small businesses to give pre-tax dollars through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) to help employees purchase a health plan on the individual market and/or to use the HRA to pay for qualified health expenses on a pre-tax basis.  More importantly, the bill will protect employers from being financially penalized for providing the cost-sharing option to employees. 

The House will also consider H.R. 1270, the Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2015.  Introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), this legislation will allow Obamacare participants to use the funds in their Health Savings Account, Flexible Spending Account, Health Reimbursement Account, or Archer MSA to purchase over-the-counter medications that do not require a prescription.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), individuals could use the funds in these accounts to purchase over-the-counter medication, but the ACA added a layer of unnecessary red tape that limited that ability.  The ACA provision increased the number of unnecessary doctors’ visits to receive a prescription for medications that are deemed by the Food and Drug Administration to be safe for the direct sale to consumers. 


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