By Stephen Barlas
January 2, 2016

Momentum is building in Congress to cancel the 40% tax on what have been called “Cadillac” health plans. Starting in 2018, the Affordable Care Act imposes a 40% nondeductible tax on employer-sponsored coverage that exceeds certain thresholds: $10,200 for employee-only and $27,500 for family coverage.


The revenue from that tax was built into Obamacare to help pay for the subsidies given to those buying health plans in the marketplaces. Sens. Dean Heller (R.-Nev.) and Sherrod Brown (D.-Ohio) have introduced separate bills, S. 2045 and S. 2075, respectively, to cancel the tax. The bills are distinguished primarily by a “Sense of the Senate” provision in the Brown bill that supports making elimination of the tax “revenue neutral.” That would mean the lost revenue would have to be made up in some fashion.


Republicans are unlikely to support making up the revenue because it would be viewed as keeping Obamacare alive, which they oppose. But Republicans would need at least six Democratic votes in the Senate to override a certain Obama veto of the Heller bill. There are bipartisan House bills, as well.


Stephen Barlas has covered Washington, D.C., for trade and professional magazines since 1981 and since 1984 for Strategic Finance and its predecessor Management Accounting. You can reach him at sbarlas@verizon.net.
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