Health Care Taxes, Employer Mandate in the Crosshairs
The U.S. Chamber is mounting an aggressive multi-pronged effort to address some of the most costly and egregious mandates in the new healthcare law to make coverage more affordable for small businesses.
The Chamber and 25 other business groups that form the Stop the HIT Coalition are building support for the Small Business Health Relief Act, which would, among other things, repeal the health care reform law’s employer mandate, which requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a fee to the government.
The legislation would also strike a new tax on health insurance companies. The Stop the HIT Coalition warns that the tax, which starts at $8 billion a year in 2014 and will rise to $14.3 billion in 2018, will be shifted to consumers and businesses, costing small business owners and their employees $87 billion over a decade. A worker with a family plan will see his or her take-home pay drop by $5,000 over a decade as a result of the premium increases resulting from the tax.
The legislation also would repeal restrictions on the use of flexible spending accounts and would allow people who like their health plan to keep it.
The Chamber and other business leaders were on hand at the Capitol on May 23 for a press conference during which Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) unveiled the Small Business Health Relief Act. Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) are co-sponsors.
The Chamber advocates for policies that empower health care consumers and make health insurance more affordable and accessible. “The Small Business Health Relief Act will advance these goals by providing small businesses and their employees some relief from the destructive fees and mandates that were enacted in the name of health reform,” says Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s executive vice president for Government Affairs.