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AAO Legislative Priorities|Healthcare Policy

Posted: 04/10/19 5:14 PM

All Americans deserve access to high quality and affordable healthcare. As Congress considers how to stabilize and strengthen the healthcare market, the AAO supports a healthcare system that maximizes patient control of healthcare decisions, such as choosing their qualified medical professional and determining how best to fund their healthcare needs.
The AAO’s top healthcare priorities are to:

Strengthen and Expand Consumer-Directed Healthcare Options by Passing the RAISE Act

Lift the artificial annual cap on contributions to flexible spending accounts
(FSAs) (currently $2,700):

  • FSAs are utilized by individuals of all incomes and are one of the many critical protections for the underinsured as well as individuals with extraordinarily high healthcare expenses.
  • The current cap does not accurately reflect the substantial out-of-pocket healthcare costs that a family may face, and penalizes larger families by failing to take into account their increased health costs.
  • Elements of the RAISE Act passed the House in the summer of 2018 with bipartisan support. We encourage this Congress to finish the job of giving working families more control over their healthcare spending.

Magnify the power of patient-directed healthcare spending:

  • Increase the cap on FSA contributions to at least $5,000 per year (and index for inflation moving forward), which would allow patients to save more for their own healthcare needs and actively plan for major expenses that exceed annual contributions.
  • Expand the FSA contributions cap to allow an additional $500 per year for each dependent, after the first two dependents, to give larger families the same purchasing power a family of four has under the law.
  • Remove the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule to allow families to carry forward unused funds in perpetuity. Families should be encouraged to build reserves that will help them manage major medical expenses in the future without fear of forfeiting or wasting funds.

Repeal the Medical Device Tax

  • The AAO has consistently and strongly opposed the medical device tax, which imposes a 2.3% excise tax on medical device manufacturers and importers.
  • We applaud the past two Congresses for acting on a bipartisan basis to suspend the tax. Under current law, however, the tax will be reinstated on January 1, 2020.
  • The medical device excise tax will place pressure on small business medical providers, like AAO members, who should not be forced to choose between absorbing the cost or passing the cost on to their patients.
  • The increase in oral healthcare costs because of the excise tax on medical devices, including the costs of dental and orthodontic services, would negatively affect access to oral care at a time when many are struggling with rising healthcare costs.
  • While the AAO supports temporary relief, we continue to urge permanent repeal of the medical device tax.

Expand Health Coverage Options for Small Businesses

  • Current law does not adequately address the needs of small businesses who want to offer health coverage to their employees.
  • Small business owners should have the option of reimbursing their employees’ out-of-pocket healthcare expenses through health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). We are encouraged by the Administration’s recent proposal to expand HRAs, and look forward to working with the Department of Labor and Congress throughout implementation to ensure an adequate framework for HRAs in the future
  • We are encouraged by the Administration’s recent proposal to expand HRAs, and look forward to working with the Department of Labor and Congress throughout implementation to ensure an adequate framework for HRAs in the future.
  • The AAO supports Congressional efforts to expand options for small businesses, including proposals like small business health accounts, which would allow employees of a small business to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to help cover their families’ healthcare expenses.

Improve Access to High-Quality Dental Care

  • All Americans deserve access to the highest quality dental and orthodontic care, particularly those living in underserved areas.
  • Orthodontists are highly trained medical professionals who are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of orthodontic problems. During their extensive formal training, orthodontists learn how to safely carry out necessary procedures, without leading to irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues.
  • While we must make every effort to remove barriers to oral health care, the AAO strongly urges Congress to ensure that such policies do not come at the expense of high quality and safe care for all Americans.

View AAO 2019 Legislative Priorities

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