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Brian Blase and Theo Merkel referenced in Politico – May 29, 2024

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Theo Merkel
Director Private Health Reform Initiative at Paragon Health Institute

Theo Merkel is the Director of the Private Health Reform Initiative and a Senior Research Fellow for the Paragon Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Brian Blase
President at Paragon Health Institute

Brian Blase, Ph.D., is the President of Paragon Health Institute. Brian was Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC) from 2017-2019, where he coordinated the development and execution of numerous health policies and advised the President, NEC director, and senior officials. After leaving the White House, Brian founded Blase Policy Strategies and serves as its CEO.

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On May 29, 2024, Paragon’s latest paper “Follow the Money: How Tax Policy Shapes Health Care,” by Brian Blase and Theo Merkel, was referenced in Politico.

From the article:

PITCHING HEALTH TAX CHANGES — With the impending expiration of the Trump administration’s tax cuts, former Trump advisers are calling for Congress to change the tax code to bolster efficiency.

“The sheer size of the revenue impact of health care tax provisions is … unrivaled anywhere else in the American economy,” Theo Merkel and Brian Blase of the conservative Paragon Health Institute wrote. “Any policymaker seeking to improve the value of health care provided to Americans today would find a target rich environment in the tax code.”

The details: The proposal released today would allow more plans to take advantage of health savings accounts, end tax credits for Affordable Care Act marketplace plan premiums and remove obstacles for individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements, or ICHRAs. The Trump administration expanded those arrangements, allowing employers to provide tax-exempt subsidies to help workers purchase Obamacare plans.

Merkel and Blase, who were leading officials on Trump’s White House’s National Economic Council, also called for:

 Curbing restrictions on Medicare medical savings accounts

 Allowing flexible spending account holders to roll over unused balances into health savings accounts

 Ending the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, saying there are “more efficient” ways to aid small businesses in offering insurance, including expanding association health plans and ICHRAs

The full article can be found in Politico.

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