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Healthcare Bill Would Repeal FSA Spending Rules

Posted on 14 Feb 2011

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Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (TX-R-) and Representative Erik Paulsen (MN-R) last week introduced a bill that would seek to repeal certain provisions of the health care reform law concerning the purchase of OTC medications.

The Patient's Freedom to Choose Act, introduced by the two lawmakers, would repeal a requirement enacted into law as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 that requires consumers to obtain a prescription in order to utilize their flexible spending arrangements and health savings accounts to purchase OTC medications.

"We strongly urge the U.S. Congress to repeal provisions in the law preventing consumers from using their flexible spending account debit cards to purchase over-the-counter medications," said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, Food Marketing Institute. "This law represents a new tax on consumers who currently use their FSA debit cards to purchase OTC medications and it is contrary to the goals of reducing health care costs and improving choice."

Retailers have invested heavily in technology that allows the to distinguish between FSA-eligible and non-eligible FSA products at the point of sale, FMI said.