As the U.S. Senate continues to move through the process of passing healthcare reform, recent media reports have suggested lawmakers will move forward with a “skinny repeal” bill that contains a limited number of reforms.
Should the Senate go down this path, it is crucial that they include repeal of Obamacare’s health insurance tax.
Repeal of the Obamacare health insurance tax is critical because it is set to go into effect in 2018. If this is allowed to happen, middle class families and small businesses will be hurt with another tax increase. Ideally, the tax should be fully repealed, but if lawmakers are unable to agree on this, they should at least delay the date at which the health insurance tax is set to go into effect.
If the Senate fails to delay this tax, it will total $14.3 billion next year. Over the next decade, the health insurance tax totals $145 billion.
Repeal means strong tax relief for middle and low-income families. According to the American Action Forum, the tax increases premiums by as much as $5,000 over a decade. In total, the tax hits 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market, and 23 million households covered through their jobs. Roughly half of the tax is paid by those earning less than $50,000 a year.
In addition, the tax is devastating to small businesses. It is estimated to directly impact as many as 1.7 million small businesses. 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.
Small businesses account for half of all jobs in the US and two-thirds of new jobs in recent decades, so this tax will mean businesses across the country can spend less on investing in new equipment, hiring new workers, or providing higher wages.
The last thing taxpayers need is for the health insurance tax to go into effect, even for one year. Lawmakers must make sure this does not happen and repeal, or at the very least delay the Obamacare health insurance tax.