The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
April 5, 2006

Fact Sheet: Health Savings Accounts: Affordable and Accessible Health Care

Today's Presidential Action

Today, President Bush Discussed His Agenda To Make Health Care More Affordable And Accessible By Expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The President discussed how HSAs are giving Americans more control over their health care costs and decisions and are helping businesses make health care more affordable and accessible for employees.

Health Savings Accounts: The Basics

What Are HSAs? Established by the Medicare reform bill President Bush signed into law in December 2003, HSAs allow Americans to save tax-free dollars to pay for near-term medical expenses and save for future longer-term costs. Accounts are accompanied by an HSA-qualified insurance plan covering major medical expenses and preventive care. HSA-qualified insurance plans are an alternative to traditional health insurance policies and have lower premiums and higher deductibles. Savings from lower premiums can be put toward funding the HSA.

HSAs Provide Americans With More Control Over Health Care Costs. Americans own and control the money in their HSA. They decide how to spend the money in their account on their own health care needs, and they keep what they do not spend. HSAs can make health insurance more affordable and help businesses lower health care costs.

Health Savings Accounts: Expanding Health Care Coverage And Lowering Costs

More Americans Are Signing Up For HSAs. The number of Americans with HSAs has tripled from one million in March 2005 to the more than three million reported in January 2006. The number of Americans with HSAs is currently projected to increase to 29 million by 2010.

Building On This Success, The President Proposes To Expand HSAs By:

The President's Agenda To Make Health Care More Affordable And Accessible To All Americans

Passing Association Health Plans (AHPs) To Give Small Businesses The Same Benefits As Big Businesses And The Ability To Expand Employee Coverage. AHPs let small businesses join together across state lines to purchase health insurance, giving them the same advantages, administrative efficiencies, and negotiating clout enjoyed by big companies and labor unions. By purchasing coverage for thousands of employees at a time, association members can pay lower premiums for better coverage. The President has called on Congress to allow small businesses to form AHPs.

Enhancing The Medical Liability System's Fairness And Predictability While Reducing Wasteful Costs. Frivolous lawsuits and excessive jury awards limit access to health care by driving providers out of many communities. They also increase costs by forcing doctors to practice defensive medicine. Lawsuits are driving many good doctors out of practice - leaving women in nearly 1,500 American counties without a single OB-GYN . The President calls on Congress to pass medical liability reforms securing an injured patient's ability to get quicker compensation for economic losses while reducing frivolous lawsuits.

Improving Health Information Technology (IT). The Administration is working to expand the use of health IT to lower costs, reduce medical errors, and improve quality of care. In 2004, the President launched an initiative to make electronic health records available to most Americans within the next 10 years.

Increasing Transparency In The Health Care System. Americans should be able to easily obtain understandable information about the price and quality of health care. The President urges medical providers and insurance companies to make information about prices and quality readily available to all Americans prior to treatment.

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