A funding mechanism included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Actis gaining steam in the House of Representatives, leading to a round of huzzahs from the small business community.
Because affordable care for all will only be affordable if someone underwrites its true cost, the law includes various taxes and assessments designed to sustain the insurers that offer low-premium coverage. Among them: The Health Insurance Tax, targeting small businesses.
Now, a HIT repeal bill has been endorsed on both sides of the aisle in Congress. H.R. 928, which would relieve small businesses of the requirement to pay the tax, has been signed by 218 bipartisan Congressional cosponsors, its sponsors said Wednesday.
“I am proud to reach this important milestone and look forward to an expeditious consideration and passage of this important legislation through the House of Representatives,” Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.) said in a statement. Boustany and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) introduced the bill in February.
Groups lobbying for the repeal, including the National Federation of Independent Business and the Stop The HIT Coalition, a broad-based group representing the nation’s small business owners, applauded the Congressional effort to put the hit on HIT.
In a letter to HIT coalition members to Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Stop The HIT Coalition on Wednesday urged members of Congress to act quickly to send HIT packing.
“Legislation to repeal the HIT has been introduced repeatedly and in each instance the bills were kept off the floor. It’s time to stop ignoring the issues that matter to small businesses, such as keeping health care costs down and repealing unnecessary taxes,” said Amanda Austin, vice president of public policy at the National Federation of Independent Business. “Now that this bill has gained serious bipartisan support, Congress has no excuse not to act in the best interest of Main Street.”
NFIB noted that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that HIT would raise $1 billion in taxes this year from small businesses and as much as $159 billion over 10 years. NFIB produced a study that estimates HIT would suck between 152,000 and 286,000 jobs out of the economy by 2023, with more than half the job losses coming from the small business sector.