Focus Point - Give MSAs A Chance

Commentary by Pete du Pont
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. If there's one issue the NCPA has been associated with, it's medical savings accounts. In 1996, congress authorized a limited demonstration project for MSAs. Now, it's time to take the lid off and give them a chance.

MSAs are accounts that let people accumulate tax-free savings for out-of-pocket medical expenses paired with a high-deductible insurance policy.

But the 1996 law restricted MSAs to companies with fewer than employees and burdened the program with complex regulations that made it hard to sell and hard to understand. And the five-year time limit on the project naturally made insurance companies leery of it.

MSAs suffered from the worst kind of demogoguery - that they benefited most the rich and healthy, for example, which is exactly, 180 degrees false. The time has come to lift the time limits, and allow any company that wants to offer them to do so. Then, insurance companies will be willing to sell them, and at last the prospect of a true patient-friendly health insurance dream will be realized.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, surplus nonsense.