House Testimony: HSAs and Higher Cost-Sharing Are Wrongheaded Policies

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<p>"Increasing patient cost-sharing is a misguided solution for reining in U.S. health care costs," The Commonwealth Fund's Sara Collins, Ph.D., told a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on health savings accounts (HSAs) held earlier today.<br><br>In her <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=22806&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D379042%26%23doc379042">invited testimony</a> before the Committee, Collins, the Fund's Assistant Vice President for the Future of Health Insurance, said there is no evidence backing the claim that Americans spend too much on health care because they are protected from its real cost--one of the principal justifications put forth by those promoting HSAs coupled with high-deductible health plans.<br><br>Americans already pay far more out-of-pocket for their health care than citizens do in any other industrialized country, she noted. Moreover, studies show that high out-of-pocket costs lead patients to decide against getting the health care they need. The major beneficiaries of the tax savings available through HSAs are likely to be healthier and more affluent taxpayers who already have health coverage--and can afford the financial risk posed by higher-deductible plans.<br><br>Health care needs to be made more affordable, not less, Collins says. Coverage for the nation's 46 million uninsured should build on group forms of health insurance that pool risk and provide people with affordable, meaningful protection.</p>