Calling it a move that will benefit the more than 181 million Americans who value and rely upon employer-sponsored coverage, the National Business Group on Health, an association of almost 450 large USA employers, today applauded the House vote to repeal the highly unpopular ACA excise tax, commonly referred to as the "Cadillac Tax". A Senate version of the bill has more than 40 co-sponsors, but there is no plan to take up the issue at this date.
The 40% excise tax is triggered for employer-sponsored health plans that reach a certain cost threshold. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the race, has a less sweeping plan to bolster Obamacare, but it still would offer a public health insurance option funded by tax hikes on the wealthy.
"As 2022 approaches, more employers will have to closely scrutinize their health benefit offerings and make the necessary changes to avoid the tax, which may include reducing benefits and/or altering wellness and chronic care prevention programs", wrote Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in a July 12 letter to Congress.
Originally scheduled to take effect past year, the controversial tax provision was delayed twice by legislation and, with passage of H.R. 748, the "Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019", appears even less likely to move forward. "We urge the Senate to voice its own overwhelming support for this legislation and send it to the president for his signature".
"We commend the House for passing this legislation, which would repeal the so-called 'Cadillac Tax.' The Chamber has long supported the repeal of the Cadillac Tax, which is forcing employers to cut health benefits to employees and their families". It was meant to help generate tax revenue to help fund the ACA's subsidies for marketplace plans. The tax, which Congress twice delayed from taking effect, is set to go into effect in 2022.
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Democrats, many of whom grudgingly supported the effort at cost containment as part of the landmark health care law nine years ago, argued Wednesday that it was a de facto tax on working families.
Repeal of the Cadillac tax is estimated to cost $200 billion from 2022 to 2029 and another $1 trillion in the decade after that, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a watchdog group.
The Cadillac tax also has supporters. Representative Ron Kind, a Wisconsin Democrat, said he opposes the repeal because the cost isn't offset and there wasn't any discussion about how scuttling the tax would affect the Affordable Care Act overall.
"I think we are lapsing into some very bad habits in the majority", he said. "Too many families are already suffering under Obamacare, and unless we repeal the Cadillac Tax, thousands of South Dakotans who get their health care from work are in jeopardy of losing the plans they now enjoy". "We need to start instilling some fiscal discipline in this place and making some tough decisions".