In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Americans for Tax Reform and 17 other conservative groups urged Congress to take lame duck action on health care reform.
Specifically, the groups called for Congress to repeal the health insurance tax, expand Health Savings Accounts and roll back the medical device tax before Democrats regain control of the House in January.
The Health Insurance Tax is one of Obamacare’s most harmful, with an annual cost of $16 billion levied on the health insurance premiums of American families. More than 141 million consumers will be damaged by this new tax: consumers in the individual market, large and small group plans, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D plans. Furthermore, 1.7 million small businesses would be harmed. Premiums could increase by as much as 2.2 percent per year, equating to almost $6,000 over the next decade for a typical family of four with small or large group insurance, and those earning less than $50,000 a year pay more than half the tax.
Expanding HSAs should also be a priority of this lame duck Congress. Today, 25 million families and individuals (and counting) utilize tax-advantaged Health Savings Accounts to save and spend their own money tax-free on a variety of healthcare expenses. Congress should expand HSAs to individuals with a bronze or catastrophic health care plan, double the contribution limit, allow working seniors enrolled in Medicare Part A to contribute to an HSA, and allow individuals to purchase over-the-counter medicine. These much-needed reforms would update HSAs for the benefit of millions of American families.
Finally, Congress should delay or roll back the medical device tax, the 2.3% excise tax on thousands of small businesses and manufacturers. This tax has been proven to suppress investment and cost jobs. When it was last in effect, medical device investment dropped by $34 billion in 2013 and almost 22,000 jobs were lost between 2013 and 2015.
Congressional Republicans can draw a sharp contrast with Obamacare’s top-down, command and control model of healthcare by using the lame-duck session to pass free-market reforms that lower the cost of healthcare for families, increase consumer choice and access, and get the federal government out of the healthcare business.
In the long term, Congress should work to dismantle all of Obamacare’s taxes. In the short term, Congress has a prime opportunity to expand HSAs and repeal some of Obamacare’s most harmful taxes for the benefit of American families.
Click here to read the entire letter. Which is also reprinted below.
The Honorable Paul D. Ryan
United States House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
S-230, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Speaker Ryan & Leader McConnell:
We write to urge that Congress acts to repeal or delay existing Obamacare taxes during the lame duck period including the health insurance tax, medical device tax, and restrictions on Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
First, Congress should act to repeal or further delay the Obamacare health insurance tax, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2020. The House has already put forward proposals to repeal and delay this tax, which should be taken up and signed into law by the President.
Insurers plan their prices months in advance so Congress must act soon to stop this $16 billion per year tax from hitting American families.
More than 141 million consumers could be negatively impacted by the health insurance tax, including consumers in the individual market, large and small group plans, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans.
If it does go into effect, the tax will increase premiums by 2.2 percent per year, according to research by Oliver Wyman.
This could increase premiums by almost $6,000 over the next decade for a typical family of four with small or large group insurance.
77 percent of registered voters support delay or full repeal of the Health Insurance Tax, according to polling released by Morning Consult.
Lawmakers should also expand tax advantaged health savings accounts. Today, 25 million American families and individuals save and spend their own money tax free on a variety of healthcare expenses — more than double the number of individuals that use Obamacare exchanges.
The House has already passed legislation that would nearly double the contribution limit for an HSA from $3,450 to $6,650 for an individual and $6,900 to $13,300 for a family and allow individuals with a bronze or catastrophic health plan to be eligible for an HSA. The proposal expands access to HSAs by allowing working seniors enrolled in Medicare
Part A to contribute to an HSA and allows HSAs to be used to purchase over-the-counter medications and fitness expenses.
These HSA reforms draw a strong contrast to the top-down, command and control model of Obamacare by empowering individuals, lowering healthcare costs, strengthening retirement security, and further reducing taxes for middle class families.
Finally, lawmakers should further roll back the Obamacare medical device tax, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2020.
The medical device tax is imposed as a 2.3 percent excise tax on all manufacturers including the thousands of small businesses. Ultimately, this tax suppresses investment and costs jobs.
When it was signed into law, Obamacare imposed a trillion dollars in new or higher taxes on the American people over a decade. These taxes including a tax on Americans facing high medical bills, taxes on health savings accounts, a tax on innovative medicines, and a tax for failing to buy health insurance. They have all caused significant harm to middle-class and low-income families across the country.
Over the long-term, lawmakers must continue working to repeal all one trillion in Obamacare taxes as part of reforms that increase access to care, lower costs, and get the government out of health care.
In the short term, Congress can take a strong step toward achieving this goal by repealing or delaying the health insurance tax, expanding HSAs, and rolling back the medical device tax.
President, Americans for Tax Reform
James L. Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis
President, 60 Plus Association
President, Association of Mature American Citizens
President, Campaign for Liberty
President, Center for a Free Economy
President, Center for Individual Freedom
President, Council Against Government Waste
Executive Director, Digital Liberty
Chairman, Family Business Coalition
Vice President of Legislative Affairs, FreedomWorks
President, Galen Institute (Affiliation listed for identification purposes only)
Executive Director, HSA Coalition
President, Independent Women’s Forum
Heather R Higgins
CEO, Independent Women’s Voice
Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union
President/CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
Executive Director, Taxpayers Protection Alliance