July 13, 1999
WASHINGTON--Oklahoma Senator Don Nickles today called on Congress to give Oklahomans the ultimate freedom over their own health care decisions with the tax-free medical savings accounts found in the Patients' Bill of Rights Plus.
"Our bill would give every American full access to tax-free medical savings accounts, or MSAs, so there are only two people involved in health care decisions--the doctor and the patient," said Nickles. "MSAs are the ultimate way to keep insurance administrators, government bureaucrats and trial lawyers from meddling in your personal health care. Congress should make full MSAs available to all Americans."
The Patients' Bill of Rights Plus protects Americans from bad HMOs and guarantees that patients have affordable, quality health care and access to the best doctors and specialists available. Nickles is working to defeat a competing big-government proposal that would increase health care costs, cause Americans to lose their health insurance and put a massive federal bureaucracy between patients and their doctors.
Medical savings accounts are similar to individual retirement accounts, except they are used to pay for health care needs instead of retirement. They permit individuals to set aside money, tax-free, to pay for medical expenses.
"We want to increase access, and we do that by making some tax changes that will help make insurance more affordable for millions of Americans," said Nickles. "MSAs put people in charge of their health care--not their employers, not their HMOs. You wouldn't have to worry about whether your favorite family doctor was a member of a specific HMO or a PPO because you would control your health care choices."
Under current law, 750,000 Americans are allowed to participate in a medical savings account pilot program. The Patients' Bill of Rights Plus would give all Americans--including the 43 million uninsured--the power to purchase MSAs. More than one-third of participants in the MSA pilot program were previously uninsured.