WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered the following opening statement at a full Committee markup on the Family First Prevention Services Act and seven proposals to improve America’s health care system.
Excerpts as prepared for delivery:
FAMILY FIRST PREVENTION SERVICES ACT
“Today, our Committee is considering eight bills that will help make America’s child welfare and health care systems work better for families throughout the nation.
“We’ll start with the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016, authored by Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan. This bipartisan legislation takes important steps to keep more children safely at home and out of foster care.
“Under current law, most federal funding for child welfare is directed toward reimbursing states after they place children into foster care. This is the least desirable outcome.
“Chairman Buchanan’s bipartisan legislation turns this around by putting resources toward preventative services to keep children safely with their parents or relatives.
“Most importantly, this bill will help ensure that more children grow up in a safe home, surrounded by a stable family.”
IMPROVING TAX-RELATED HEALTH CARE POLICIES AND PROVIDING RELIEF FROM OBAMACARE
“In addition to this legislation, we will also consider seven health care bills today.
“These bills are another demonstration of our commitment to identifying and advancing member-driven solutions that provide Americans more access, better choices, and greater flexibility in health care.
“In fact, each of them is a product of our Health Subcommittee’s recent Member Day hearing on tax-related proposals to improve health care.
“The first set of bills expands access to consumer driven health care arrangements, which empower individuals and families to make their own decisions about their health care spending.
“We will begin with a bipartisan effort by Congressmen Boustany and Thompson to allow small employers the freedom to reimburse their workers for part of the cost of obtaining health coverage. This practice is currently subject to startling $100 per-day, per-employee fines because of a determination by the Administration.
“We then have three bills focused on improving and expanding access to health savings accounts, or “HSAs.”
“The Veterans TRICARE Choice Act by Congressman Stewart – a veteran himself – would provide TRICARE-eligible veterans the ability to contribute to an HSA.
“Likewise, Congressman Moolenaar’s bill would permit individuals receiving care through the Indian Health Service to contribute to an HSA.
“Both of these commonsense ideas have bipartisan support.
“Finally, Congressman Paulsen’s bill makes several smart legislative proposals that improve HSAs for individuals and families – including raising the contribution limit and allowing spouses to make catch-up contributions.
“The last three bills before us today are Obamacare repeals that provide targeted relief as we push forward with our plan to fully repeal that law and replace it with patient-focused alternatives.
“Congresswoman Noem’s legislation brings relief from Obamacare’s employer mandate to tribally owned businesses, and Congressman Meadows’s bill does the same for universities that hire student workers.
“Finally, Congresswoman McSally’s bill repeals a harmful provision of Obamacare that makes it harder for seniors and middle-class families to deduct high-cost medical expenses.
“All eight of the bills before us today are innovative, member-driven solutions. I’m grateful to everyone on and off our committee who worked hard to put these bills together.
“By advancing these bills today, we can demonstrate that we are serious about addressing major challenges in child welfare and health care.”