Fact Check: Doctor Approval Needed for NyQuil?
Voice of San Diego
January 5, 2011
by Keegan Kyle
"Another example of unintended, and somewhat ridiculous, consequences in PPACA (the health care reform act) can be found in a provision that requires individuals to obtain a doctor's prescription before using their own money to purchase over-the-counter medications like aspirin or NyQuil," U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., wrote in an op-ed published by the Union-Tribune on Dec. 17.
Analysis: Part of the landmark health care legislation passed by Congress last year changed how millions of people can receive discounted medical supplies. In the editorial, Bilbray derided the change as another example of failed legislation and advocated for an overhaul.
But his example isn't accurate.
Some employer-provided health care plans, such as flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts, provide a tax break and reimburse recipients for the cost of their medical supplies, which may include over-the-counter medication like aspirin or NyQuil. Under the new legislation, those people must first get a prescription for over-the-counter medication in order to get the tax break and reimbursement. Without a prescription, they can't benefit from their health care plan's discounted price.
However, contrary to Bilbray's statement, the legislation doesn't stop people from buying over-the-counter medication without a prescription. They'll just have to pay the full retail price and any accompanying taxes...