Obamacare Sticker Shock: Taxing Over 15,000 Medicines

Nancy Pelosi warned us we’d have to pass Obamacare to find out what’s in it.  And what we’re finding we don’t like at all. 

Higher insurance premiums are hitting families hard.  Medicare Advantage has been decimated.  Millions will be forced into government-run Medicaid where long lines and rationing await.

If we like our insurance — too bad.

Beginning January 1, 2011, more than 15,000 over-the-counter (OTC) health care items will require a prescription (and that means a doctor’s visit) for tax-free reimbursement.

Under Obamacare, OTC drugs cannot be reimbursed tax-free from Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) without a government bureaucrat-required permission slip.
 
In response to new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance (the IRS is the Obamacare enforcement agency), the Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards (SIGIS) released a new list of OTC medications that will require a prescription for a tax-free withdrawal from an HSA or an FSA under Obamacare.   SIGIS is an industry group for health care debit card transactions and merchants.  According to SIGIS, 15,000 OTC health care items are barred from purchase by these accounts without prescription. 

Below is a partial list of the OTC item categories:
 
Acid Controllers
Allergy and Sinus medicine
Antibiotics
Anti-Diarrheals
Anti-Gas Products
Anti-Itch and Insect Bite
Anti-Parasitic Treatments
Baby Rash Ointments/Creams
Cold Sore Remedies
Cough, Cold, and Flu
Digestive Aids
Motion Sickness
Pain Relievers
Respiratory Treatments
Stomach Remedies

The detailed SIGIS Eligible Products List will be published on December 15, 2010.
 
As of May 2010, approximately 10 million people were covered under HSA plans for their family’s health care needs.   The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates this provision of Obamacare will cost families $5 billion. 

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