Efforts are once again in motion to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax.
U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany Jr., R-La., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., introduced a bill Thursday to repeal the Health Insurance Tax, which they argued is “passed on to consumers in the form of increasing premiums and out-of-pocket costs.”
“American families and small businesses are on the brink of being crushed under the weight of the Health Insurance Tax,” Boustany said in a statement. “This provision drives up costs for individuals, families, and small businesses while threatening hundreds of thousands of lost jobs over the next decade.”
In the statement, Boustany cited numbers from the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, saying the health insurance tax will cost between 152,000 and 286,000 lost jobs by 2023, with 57 percent of those lost jobs represented in small businesses, and between $20 billion and $33 billion in lost economic activity.
The health insurance tax has been a major point of contention for the law: Though it’s a massive revenue source for PPACA, analysts have warned it hurts consumers in the form of higher premiums. Analysis from Oliver Wyman found that repeal of the tax would save individuals $514 per year, $688 per year for small groups, and $719 per year for family coverage.
The Congressional Budget Office also came to a similar conclusion when it analyzed its potential effects back in 2009.
The tax started at $8 billion in 2014, increased by 40 percent in 2015, and will nearly double over the course of four years to $14.3 billion in 2018.
Sens. John Barrass, R-Wyo., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced a similar bill last year to kill the health insurance tax, but it never made it to a full vote.
America’s Health Insurance Plans — a group that has long been fighting the tax — quickly praised the bill.
“Imposing a tax on health insurance does nothing to make coverage more affordable or accessible. It only increases costs for families, seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage, small businesses, and state Medicaid programs,” AHIP president and CEO Karen Ignagni wrote in a statement. “Repealing the health insurance tax would be an important step to affordability for millions of Americans.”
More than 150 members of the House of Representatives have signed on to support repeal of the health insurance tax.