While the GOP continues to fumble their promise to repeal Obamacare, another Obamacare tax is due to hit businesses come January 1, 2018.
Though they have not been able to repeal the Affordable Care Act because, in all honesty, they don’t really want to, they should be able to at least write a piece of legislation to stop Obamacare’s rules applying a “Health Insurance Tax” (HIT) of between 4 and 6 percent on every health plan sold in America, not including self-insurance.
Quin Hillyer writes:
The HIT was originally slated to take effect several years ago, but Congress delayed it several times, most recently in a government-funding bill President Barack Obama signed in 2015.
Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform wrote that “Next year alone, the health insurance tax will total $12.3 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Over the next decade it will result in nearly $145 billion in higher taxes.”
Norquist further wrote: “Any [of HIT’s] costs are passed directly to small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees, and middle class families through higher premiums. The tax even impacts the care received by seniors through Medicare advantage coverage and low-income Americans that rely on Medicaid managed care. According to the American Action Forum, the tax is responsible for premiums increasing by as much as $5,000 over a decade and half of the tax will be paid by those earning less than $50,000 a year.”
Even if insurance companies don’t pass the entire tax directly through to consumers, a group of companies led by United Health publicized a study showing HIT alone would force premium hikes next year of 2.6 percent. And that’s on top of other factors causing huge premium increases in an Obamacare market struggling to stay afloat.
The GOP have once again sold the American people out just like they were doing when they took control of the House under John Boehner and just like they did when they took control of the Senate.
Instead of providing the people actual relief, they have continued to allow Obamacare to be solidified in society.
The cost on this tax alone is devastating.
Estimates are that this tax alone could cost 286,000 jobs to be lost by 2023, according to the National Federation of Independent Business and there’s not doubt it will add to the increasing numbers of insurers offering plans in each state.
This means that American citizens will pay the cost not only for the Democrats decision to shove this unconstitutional legislation down our throats, but also the cost of Republicans inaction to repeal the pretended legislation that is an albatross around our necks.
While RINO Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) says the HIT is a “bad tax,” he has done nothing to stop it. In fact, it was Ryan who passed a spending bill of over $1 trillion dollars and helped to continue the implementation and funding of Obamacare.
Ryan should just change his name to Judas because that is what he is.
With that said, until they can get their act together to do what they actually promised the people who put them into office, there does seem to be at least one or two ways Congress could keep this tax from taking effect.
According to Leslie Small:
Two recent reports commissioned by UnitedHealth estimate that the return of the tax in 2018 will increase health insurance premiums by as much as $22 billion—or 2.6%—and cost the Medicaid program $5.5 billion. Conservative groups have also petitioned Congress to repeal both the health insurance tax and medical device tax.
However, while it seems as though at least extending the moratorium would be relatively uncontroversial, that task is far easier said than done.
For one, Congress has a slew of pressing issues to attend to in September, such as raising the debt ceiling and ensuring the government is funded.
And while tax reform—another of the GOP’s main priorities—might seem like an obvious vehicle, leaders in the House have said they don’t want any such legislation to address healthcare taxes, according to Axios. Addressing the ACA’s taxes also isn’t currently on the table in the Senate’s bipartisan talks about how to stabilize the individual exchanges.
There is some hope, however, that a health insurance tax relief provision could make its way into either a stabilization package that Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., are formulating, or a long-shot ACA repeal-and-replace bill championed by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. In addition, the article notes that the tax could be addressed in a bill to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program in the event that gets pushed back to December.
If Congress is able to at least delay the tax again, that could help mitigate insurers’ mounting concerns about operating on the ACA exchanges next year. As a recent report from consulting firm Oliver Wyman states, continuing the moratorium would “help reduce the significant premium increases and provide more stability to the individual ACA market.”
I’m not holding my breath because I actually think a majority of Congress wants this to fail so they can be the savior’s and walk in a single payer plan, full on Socialist Medicine, something that even Donald Trump would be proud to sign into law.