SSHJR 54: Relating to medical savings account legislation.

00SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 54 01 Relating to medical savings account legislation. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS it is estimated that 37,000,000 Americans are without health insurance, 04 many while between jobs, and that more Americans are underinsured because of the effects 05 of rising health care costs and spending, which are forcing employers to trim the level and 06 availability of health care benefits provided to their employees; and 07 WHEREAS overutilization of health care services for relatively small claims is one 08 of the most significant causes of health care cost and spending increases: currently more than 09 two-thirds of all insurance claims for medical spending are less than $3,000 per family per 10 year in this country; and 11 WHEREAS, in response to runaway cost increases for health care spending, the 12 private sector has developed the concept of medical savings accounts, which is designed to 13 ensure health insurance availability and is based on providing incentives to eliminate 14 unnecessary medical treatment and encourage competition in seeking health care; and

01 WHEREAS, under a medical savings account arrangement, an employer currently 02 providing employee health care benefits would purchase a lower cost, higher deductible major 03 medical policy for each employee to replace the existing policy and then set aside the saved 04 premium differential in a medical savings account for the participating employee; and 05 WHEREAS, through employer-funded medical savings account arrangements and the 06 reduced cost of qualified insurance policies with higher deductibles, millions of Americans 07 could insure themselves for both routine and major medical services; and 08 WHEREAS the participating employees would be able to use the money in their 09 medical savings accounts to pay medical care expenses up to the amount of the insurance 10 policy deductible and any money in the account at the end of the plan year would belong to 11 the employee to use as the employee saw fit; and 12 WHEREAS the possibility of using the balance in the employee's medical savings 13 account for other purposes is a strong incentive not to abuse health expenditures and to 14 institute "cost shopping" for medical care services; and 15 WHEREAS, by setting aside money for employees to spend on health care, employees 16 could change jobs and use the money they had earned so far to buy interim health insurance 17 or cover health care expenses thereby eliminating the problem of uninsureds between jobs and 18 helping to reduce "job-lock"; and 19 WHEREAS medical care decisions are highly individualized and involve personal 20 factors that cannot be standardized without interfering with personal choice and so should 21 remain the employee's prerogative; and 22 WHEREAS, under medical savings account arrangements, individual policyholders 23 will have a strong stake in reducing costs, and this simple financial mechanism will expand 24 health insurance options to others who presently have no insurance; and 25 WHEREAS this method of decreasing the health care cost burdens in this country 26 would require no new federal bureaucracy and would be revenue neutral to employers; 27 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the 28 Congress of the United States to enact legislation swiftly and in good faith to enable 29 Americans to establish medical savings accounts. 30 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Bill Clinton, President of the 31 United States; the Honorable Al Gore, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and President

01 of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Robert C. Byrd, President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate; 02 the Honorable Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; and to the 03 Honorable Ted Stevens and the Honorable Frank Murkowski, U.S. Senators, and the 04 Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress.