House bill would repeal ObamaCare tax on insurance companies

Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles BoustanyTax extenders – prelude to December? David Duke will bank on racial tensions in Louisiana Senate bid Boeing tells lawmakers sale of planes to Iran well-known part of nuclear agreement MORE Jr. (R-La.) is renewing his push to repeal an ObamaCare tax on insurance companies that he says “drives up costs” across the board.

Boustany is joining Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on a bill to repeal the Health Insurance Tax, which he said hurts individuals and businesses by increasing premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

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"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, adding that the tax threatens “hundreds of thousands of lost jobs over the next decade.”

The tax is an important revenue source for the Affordable Care Act, amounting to $8 billion in 2014 and rising to $14.3 billion by 2018, though the Congressional Budget Office has warned it would be “largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums.” 

Boustany, who spent 30 years as a cardiovascular surgeon, is a longtime opponent of ObamaCare and aggressively fought the law as chairman of the House Ways and Means panel's Oversight Subcommittee.

He has twice introduced the bill with former Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) with more than 200 co-sponsors. Matheson did not seek reelection in 2014.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a similar bill in the Senate last year, though it did not move to a full vote.

Sinema, who represents cities including Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, has been hit hard for her support of ObamaCare, with opponents describing her as an “out-front defender” of the law. An ad by the National Republican Congressional Committee described her as someone who “crafted it, campaigned for it, and sticks by it to this day.”

"This common sense fix will help lower out of pocket costs for hardworking Arizonans,” she wrote in a statement. “By working together, we can provide relief for individuals, families, and employers while increasing access to quality affordable health care."

The bill was quickly cheered by groups like America’s Health Insurance Plans.

“Imposing a tax on health insurance does nothing to make coverage more affordable or accessible. It only increases costs,” the group’s president and CEO Karen Ignagni wrote in a statement.