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Roe Statement: Debate on H.R. 5447, the Small Business Health Care Relief Act

I want to thank my colleagues, Representatives Boustany and Thompson, for their leadership on this important issue. It’s not very often that we have bipartisan legislation that will make a real difference in lowering health care costs for working families, and I’m pleased to see this bill come to the floor today.

This legislation is a no-brainer. As a physician with more than 30 years of experience, I’ve personally seen the need for commonsense reforms that will remove barriers to lower health care costs and give Americans more control over their health care decisions.

Because of ObamaCare, I constantly hear from families who are paying higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for less coverage and lower-quality of care. I hear from small business owners who desperately want to help their employees acquire health insurance, but face costly regulations that make it harder, if not impossible, for them to do so.

Employers of all sizes are implementing innovative solutions to address rising health care costs, and we should do everything we can to support those efforts. Unfortunately, misguided federal rules too often stand in the way.

Regulatory guidance issued by the IRS that penalizes small businesses who offer stand-alone Health Reimbursement Arrangements is the perfect example. HRAs are popular among both workers and employers. Employers offer HRAs to help their employees pay for health care. In return, families are provided greater flexibility and the opportunity to set aside pretax income for medical expenses.

It simply doesn’t make sense for the federal government to restrict a positive tool aimed at expanding access to affordable health care coverage. It’s unconscionable that ObamaCare is penalizing small businesses for trying to do the right thing and alleviate the financial burden on working families.

That’s why this bill is so important. We need to encourage policies that empower every American with affordable coverage, provide more choice, and promote a healthy workforce. And I hope we can all agree that we should eliminate misguided rules that only make it harder for families and small businesses to obtain the health care coverage they need.

I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation, which will restore the ability of small businesses to offer HRAs.

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