by Jonathan Decker
Have you received your healthcare premium notice in the mail yet?
I did. Next year, I will pay roughly $850 more for the same Obamacare plan that I have this year. No, thankfully, my health has not grown materially worse. In fact, I am near-certain the only expense my insurance company picked up this past year was for a one-time doctor visit to receive cough medicine.
Over the next few weeks, I will be searching for a more affordable health insurance option (perhaps one of the new short-term limited duration plans made available by President Trump), since an $850 premium increase would eat away at a good portion of my savings under Trump’s tax cuts.
But for me, even more worrisome than my 2019 premium hike are the future premium hikes that are beginning to seem inevitable — unless the GOP-controlled Congress acts now. One of the major underreported stories of this lame duck Congress is that Obamacare’s tax-hike time bomb could detonate if the GOP does not address this issue before Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.
As Grover Norquist and Alex Hendrie wrote for the Washington Examiner:
Barack Obama promised in 2008 to pass legislation that would reduce the cost of a family’s health insurance by $2,500 a year. Instead Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, reduced the options families have, took away the ability to keep your doctor, and increased the cost of health insurance by $2,500.
[I]f lawmakers fail to act soon, Obamacare’s $16 billion a year tax on health insurance premiums (cleverly delayed until Obama left office) will soon take effect.
More than 141 million consumers will be damaged by this new tax: consumers in the individual market, large and small group plans, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D plans. Furthermore, 1.7 million small businesses would be harmed.
Premiums could increase by as much as 2.2 percent per year, equating to almost $6,000 over the next decade for a typical family of four with small or large group insurance. This tax is also highly regressive. Those earning less than $50,000 a year pay about half of the tax.
Although the tax does not take effect until 2020, insurers plan their prices months in advance, so Congress must act soon. Congressional action is also overwhelmingly popular: 77 percent of registered voters support delay or full repeal of Obamacare’s health insurance tax.
The health insurance tax is not the only looming tax hike. The Obamacare medical device tax is also set to go into effect in 2020. This 2.3 percent excise tax is imposed directly on manufacturers and thousands of small businesses. [Emphasis added]
If you have already faced the sticker shock from the cost of your healthcare plan, keep in mind that there are looming Obamacare tax hikes that have still not taken effect yet. If you think health insurance is obscenely expensive now, wait until the “Affordable Care Act” taxes are fully phased in!
Ironically, while Democrats used the midterm election to browbeat Republicans over the need for more affordable healthcare, when it comes to Obamacare’s impending tax hikes (that will drive up healthcare costs), all one hears from Democrats are crickets.
The aforementioned plainly reveals that Democrats only pay lip service to reducing the cost of health insurance. It also reveals the need for the GOP to try to stop or delay Obamacare’s tax hikes while they still control all the levers of power during the lame duck session.
And if the Republican Congress is unable or unwilling to dismantle Obamacare’s tax hikes while they control Congress, Americans must make sure the calls grow louder to end Congress’s annual bailout of Obamacare (as President Trump previously threatened to do) during the next session of Congress. That will be our best leverage to ensuring these disastrous taxes never impact our healthcare premiums.