Congress must delay ObamaCare's health insurance tax immediately
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Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal MORE promised voters that his signature healthcare law would decrease premiums by $2,500 a year. That didn't happen.

Instead, the Affordable Care Act increased premiums by nearly $5,000.

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ObamaCare is about to get worse before Congress repeals it. There is an ObamaCare tax on health insurance that was delayed until after the 2016 election. Now, it is scheduled to take effect in 2018. When it begins to bite, premiums will soar even higher.

 

Insurers are already beginning to price their plans for next year so any delay must happen soon. Congress can and should immediately act to delay the tax for one year.

Given these time constraints, lawmakers have only one realistic choice. Delay this tax in must-pass legislation funding the government before the end of the month.

The case for stopping this tax from going into effect should be clear. While repeal of ObamaCare has been delayed because of debates over what regulation changes are Byrd Rule consistent, there is consensus on repealing all $1 trillion of ObamaCare taxes.

The health insurance tax is the only ObamaCare tax that will go into effect next year, and it will have a damaging impact if it does. 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.

The tax is calculated based on insurance premiums, meaning any 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.

The health insurance tax directly impacts as many as 1.7 million small businesses, 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market, and 23 million households covered through their jobs. The National Federation of Independent Business estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.

As it stands, taxpayers have already been hit enough by ObamaCare’s many other taxes. When it was signed into law seven years ago, ObamaCare imposed a tax on employer provided care, a tax on innovative medicines and other treatments, a tax for failing to buy government-mandated insurance, a tax on medical devices, taxes on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts, and even a tax hike on Americans facing high medical bills.

The trillion dollars in higher taxes have restricted health care choice, increased costs, made saving more difficult, and granted government more control over care at the expense of individual control. The passage of these taxes also broke President Obama’s promise not to increase any form of tax on any middle class family.

In contrast, President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress promised an agenda of lower taxes, more jobs, higher wages, and lower healthcare costs through reduced premiums.

They can ensure that they are able to fully keep that promise by delaying the health insurance tax immediately. And killing the rest of the taxes later this spring.

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.