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Senate bill would repeal ACA insurer tax

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 1, 2013

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Sens. John Barrasso, MD (R, Wyo.), and Orrin Hatch (R, Utah) have reintroduced legislation to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s sales tax on health insurers.

The tax starts out at $8 billion in 2014, ramps up to $14.3 billion in 2018 and will increase each year after that, according to industry trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans. “Raising taxes on health insurance can only ever lead to higher health care costs, because the price of the tax will be passed onto consumers. In this economy and with families and businesses struggling to succeed, it’s time we repeal this egregious tax once and for all,” said Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the House by Reps. Charles Boustany, MD (R, La.), and Jim Matheson (D, Utah).

A background paper from Hatch’s website said health insurers starting in 2014 will be taxed “based on their net premiums written in the fully insured market — where 87% of small businesses purchase their coverage,” if the tax isn’t repealed before then.

The National Federation of Independent Business estimates that the tax will lead to the elimination of 146,000 to 262,000 private-sector jobs by 2022, with more than half of those losses coming from small businesses.

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