House GOP adds healthcare tax bill to fall agenda

Greg Nash

House GOP leaders are eyeing a package of healthcare bills this fall that will target some of the most despised taxes under the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Kevin BradyKevin BradyGOP lawmakers ask IRS to explain M wasted on unusable email system Rep. Brady plans to move tax reform legislation in 2017 US confirms China has ended tax breaks for domestic airplanes MORE (R-Texas), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee's Health Subcommittee, said he expects a comprehensive bill repealing healthcare taxes to be ready sometime after lawmakers return from recess.

“We’re going to continue to focus on ObamaCare implementation, but we're also looking at a number of the tax provisions that need to be repealed,” Brady said in an interview on Monday.

While it’s too early to say what will be included, Brady said members are gauging support for various provisions — including the repeal of the controversial “Cadillac” tax on high-cost health plans.

“No decisions have been made on that package, but I would expect that to occur after we get back,” Brady said, adding that he is “seeing where the support is at” for each provision.

When asked about several possibilities, including the Cadillac tax, Brady said: “I think all those are in the mix.” He added that the final decisions will ultimately come from the full committee and its chairman, Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanNRCC ad touts GOP rep for bucking Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report Ryan has little margin for error in Speaker vote MORE (R-Wis.).

He acknowledged one piece of the bill could involve the tax treatment for health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts, which changed under ObamaCare.

It’s unclear whether President Obama would support some of the small tax-related changes to his signature policy achievement.

His administration has already been clear that it does not support eliminating the 40 percent Cadillac tax on high-cost plans. Still, there has been some bipartisan support, even from prominent ObamaCare supporters like Sen. Chris MurphyChris MurphyObama takes aim at workers’ non-compete agreements Intelligence director: Withholding classified briefings from Trump, Clinton ‘not an option’ Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs MORE (D-Conn.).

Brady is also planning a separate healthcare agenda around Medicare, which he said would also have to happen before next fall, adding: “The election year can get to be difficult to find the room to move these.”

The Texas Republican said his healthcare agenda has been energized by this year’s repeal of Medicare’s “doc fix,” also known as the sustainable growth rate formula.

With that bill signed into law this spring, Brady said it has freed up political energy to work on other healthcare items, such as payment reimbursements for hospitals and post-acute providers.

“Without the SGR sucking the oxygen out of the air each year, I’m convinced that on both sides of the aisle, we’ve got bipartisan improvements to make on healthcare,” he said.