The first, called the Personalized Care Act (PCA), augments Health Savings Accounts (HSA) — non-taxable accounts to which patients can deposit money to finance healthcare expenditures down the road.
Cruz stated, “The Personalized Care Act puts patients and doctors back at the center of healthcare—not Washington bureaucrats. This bill makes it easier to pay for health insurance and increases portability and accessibility for millions of Americans.”
HSA access would be expanded to patients who do not have a high-deductible plan and for government-run insurance recipients such as CHIP, Medicare, Medicaid. Patients with coverage outside of the insurance-based system could also open HSAs. What HSA funds can be used on would also be expanded to direct care and healthcare sharing ministry fees, and insurance premiums.
The annual HSA contribution limit would increase to $10,800 for individuals and $29,500 for families. A 10 percent decrease in penalties for non-qualified distribution is also part of the legislation.
Roy said of the PCA, “America’s healthcare system is unquestionably broken; Americans are hurting from climbing prices while massive insurance corporations enrich themselves off a one-sided system. Our crumbling system is filled with government and insurance bureaucrats telling Americans how and when they will get care.”
The PCA is similar to Roy’s 2019 Healthcare Freedom Act — which aimed to revamp HSAs into “Health Freedom Accounts,” essentially an HSA on steroids. Much of those changes are part of this renewed effort to bolster HSAs.
The second piece of legislation is coined the “Reciprocity Ensures Streamlined Use of Lifesaving Treatments” (RESULT) Act.
An effort to slash through the bureaucratic red tape required to bring new medicine to market, the RESULT Act creates a path for reciprocal approval of drugs from certain countries. That means, if a drug is approved for market in one of those countries, it will be fast-tracked for approval in the U.S., and vice versa.
It also sets a 30-day timetable for the Food and Drug Administration FDA to rule on a reciprocity application.
Three criteria would be established for the secretary of Health and Human Services to approve a medicinal application. The secretary must approve an application if the drug is: “lawfully approved for sale in one of the listed countries; not a banned device by current FDA standards; and there is a public health or unmet medical need for the product.”
Roy stated of the RESULT Act, “The United States is often the first to approve drugs because the U.S. is considered the ‘gold standard’ in regulatory requirements and companies generally seek Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval prior to the approval of the regulatory agencies in other countries.”
“Unfortunately, however, that ‘gold standard’ has really proven itself to be a euphemism for ‘overzealous bureaucratic scrutiny’ and costs American lives each year due to unnecessary bureaucratic delays in the approval process,” he added.
“Indeed, we recently saw this situation unfold when the United Kingdom approved the Pfizer vaccine ahead of the United States.”
Remarking on the direction of healthcare in America overall, Cruz stated, “The critical question is whether President Biden and Congress will finally create a true personalized free market healthcare system or plummet deeper into bureaucratically rationed care.”
“Instead of learning the lessons that the pandemic has taught us — when bureaucratic red tape is removed and private ingenuity is encouraged historic vaccines are discovered and produced in record time and ordinary private innovators fill the gap — Democrats are demanding even more control over every aspect of our lives.”
Cruz and Roy have a long history of teamwork dating back to Roy’s time as the senator’s chief of staff. Healthcare reform, especially, has been a bailiwick of the two Texans who now find themselves in the minority in both of their respective chambers.