Politics

Spending And Tax Deals Would Deliver Major Blow To Obamacare

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter

The $622 billion tax-extender package and the $1.1 trillion must-pass end-of-the-year spending measure expected to pass both chambers by Friday would delay major provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The Cadillac tax, which has seen push back from both parties and unions, was intended to generate $87 billion over the course of 10 years to expand government healthcare by placing a 40 percent non-deductible excise tax on premium health plans. Under the new spending bill, this tax would see a two-year delay. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said the Cadillac tax is really a “middle class tax hike disguised as a tax hit on the rich.”

In an estimate released Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan scorekeeper said the change would cost around $20 billion.

House Speaker Paul Ryan applauded a provision in the spending bill for preventing a taxpayer bailout for Obamacare’s risk corridors program, a policy rider touted by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

“If the only way Obamacare can continue is for taxpayers to bail out health insurers that lose money because of it, that’s as good an indication as any that the whole law should be repealed and replaced,” the presidential hopeful wrote in a letter to top members of the Senate in late-November. “It is our responsibility to completely shield the U.S. taxpayer from a deal in the Omnibus that might reimburse health insurers retroactively for these losses or any other future losses.”

The tax-extender package, which was passed in the House Thursday, would also deliver a revenue blow to the ACA by delaying the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax implemented in 2013 under Obamacare for two years.

“For years now, we’ve seen support grow on both sides of the aisle for repealing this horrendously misguided tax,” Hatch said during a floor speech Thursday. “It has been a top priority of mine since the day Obamacare was signed into law.:

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