Tuesday marked a major milestone for a key piece of legislation that would repeal part of PPACA. H.R. 928, the bill to repeal the annual Health Insurance Tax (HIT), reached 218 co-sponsors with the addition of Representatives Curt Clawson (R-FL-19) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1). The importance of 218 co-sponsors is that it represents half of the House chamber plus one, meaning that it has enough supporters to reach a majority vote on the floor. A bill with that much bipartisan support is something congressional leadership looks for when deciding whether a measure should be brought to the floor for a vote. The bill is currently awaiting action in the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees.
H.R. 928 was introduced in February by Representatives Charles Boustany (R-LA-3) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ-9) and is the next iteration of H.R. 763 from last Congress that attracted more than 230 co-sponsors. As with last year’s legislation, the bulk of the supporters are Republicans with only five other Democrats joining Rep. Sinema this year. It similarly attracted more than 218 co-sponsors in 2012 without major action. A companion bill in the Senate, S. 183, sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), has 30 co-sponsors, all Republican. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already indicated his strong support for the legislation.
The tax, dubbed a fee, is included in Section 9010 of the health reform law and is charged to insurers to help pay for the health reform law, but is passed down to employers, employees and individuals, raising the cost of their plans. The tax this year is expected to rake in more than $11.3 billion by adding $500 or more annually to the cost of a typical family policy, and is projected to increase each year. Individuals will see their premiums increase by an average of $2,150 and families by $5,080 over the next 10 years. By 2023, the tax is expected to increase premiums 2.8% to 3.7%, according an analysis by Oliver Wyman. The tax also hits small employers by as much as $6,830 for family coverage and large employers by $7,130 for family coverage. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will also have to pay an additional $32 to $42 per month by 2023, with the average increase in the cost of MA plans by 2023 shooting up an additional $3,590.
NAHU strongly supports this legislation and is part of the Stop the HIT Coalition with small businesses and other industry and trade groups to repeal the provision. This week the coalition sent a letter to House leadership asking for a floor vote on the bill. You can help us to encourage other members to join the push by sending an Operation Shout to your representative here and to your senators here.