The House on Wednesday voted to repeal ObamaCare’s “Cadillac Tax” on high-cost health plans, removing a part of the health law opposed by many in both parties.
The wide bipartisan vote of 419-6 illustrates how the tax is one of the few areas of ObamaCare that has opposition across the political aisle.
The tax was designed to help keep health care costs down by discouraging overly-generous “Cadillac” health insurance plans. But both unions and employers opposed the tax, helping to set up a broad coalition against it.
With former President Obama out of office, the main defenders of the tax are now health economists, who say it is a valuable tool to control health care spending.
Repealing the tax will cost the government the hefty sum of $196.9 billion over 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
“After a decade of fiercely debating the merits of the Affordable Care Act, I hope we have turned a corner today and can now focus on strengthening the parts of the law that work in the manner we'd intended and changing the parts of the law — which is not unusual — that we believe could be improved,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealHouse passes giant social policy and climate measure The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay Democrats press toward vote on massive Biden bill MORE (D-Mass.), praising the bill.
The timing of Wednesday's vote was aided by a new centrist-backed House rule designed to force votes on bills that have wide bipartisan support, or at least 290 co-sponsors. The Cadillac Tax repeal bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe CourtneyJoseph (Joe) D. CourtneyLawmakers introduce bill to examine opioid use in veterans House GOP campaign arm expands target list after brutal night for Dems House panel approves B boost for defense budget MORE (D-Conn.), had 369 co-sponsors.
“I'm sure people are back home saying, ‘They can't do anything,’” said Rep. Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyDeGette calls for 'lean and mean' health research agency to tackle diabetes The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Democrats ask what went wrong on Election Day The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Political earthquake rocks Virginia; New Jersey too close to call MORE (R-Pa.). “Well I'm here to tell you, today that's just not true. You are going to see a bipartisan effort today.”
The Cadillac Tax had never actually gone into effect, given that Congress repeatedly delayed it when it came close to taking effect. The vote Wednesday would fully repeal it, though it remains unclear whether the Senate will also bring the bill up for a vote.