Business groups call for repeal of ObamaCare insurance tax

Two groups of business associations and state and local chambers of Commerce are calling on Congress to pass new legislation that would delay an ObamaCare tax on health insurance companies for two years.

This week, Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Ami Bera (D-Calif.) proposed a bill delaying the tax for two years. The tax is expected to collect anywhere from $8 billion to $15 billion per year over the next few years.

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The two members fear that the tax, which is meant to help fund subsidies for health insurance, would only be handed down to consumers and increase overall costs.

Those fears are shared by the Affordable Coverage Project, a group that was launched in September to fight for repeal or delay of the tax.

"A two-year delay of the health insurance tax is a critically important step Congress can take now to protect American small businesses from paying more for employee health coverage next year," said Bruce Josten, executive vice president for Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But while the group supports a delay, it wants a full repeal of the tax. The Affordable Coverage Project sees the Boustany/Bera will as a "first step" toward full repeal.

"As we get close to January 1, 2014, the new health insurance tax looms large over the head of America's small businesses who know it will cause higher health care costs and make it even harder to grow jobs," said Neil Trautwein, vice president and Employee Benefits Policy Counsel at the National Retail Federation.

Other members of the group include the American Bakers Association, Associated General Contractors of America, International Franchise Association and National Association of Manufacturers. Twenty-four state and local chambers of commerce are also members.

Another group, the Stop the HIT Coalition, also thanked Boustany and Bera for proposing their legislation.

That group represents small business owners and members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

"While we will continue to fight for full repeal of the HIT, any relief from its damaging effects is encouraging for small business owners and their employees who are facing higher health insurance costs," said Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB's manager of legislative affairs.

Earlier today, a spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she opposes the bill, and is "unwise" because it would add $20 billion to the deficit.