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Health Biz: HSA policy debate continues

By Ellen Beck
United Press International
Published 5/20/2004 3:10 PM

WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Health savings accounts are popular with insurers, who say they are popular with employers -- but on Capitol Hill, five months after they became law via the Medicare drug bill, they remain not very popular among some Democrats.

Sen. John Breaux, D-La., ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, told a hearing Wednesday that HSAs, "as they are currently designed, are a terrible idea whose time has not yet come."

HSAs that combine a tax-free savings account with a high-deductible insurance plan for individuals, Breaux said, make for "unprecedented tax policy," because savings are deductible when they go into the account and not counted as income when they come out. "We've never done that before," Breaux added and referenced other retirement vehicles, such as 401(k) plans.

Article: http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040520-104151-6718r