This week the U.S. House of Representatives voted 419-6 to approve Congressman Joe Courtney’s Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019. This bill would do away with a looming tax on higher-cost health care plans that would disproportionately affect those in high cost of living areas and groups with higher percentages of women, people with families, and older employees.
“Teachers have continued to accept salary freezes and cuts in order to save their health care coverage,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “This tax would be devastating for educators, and we thank Congressman Courtney for his advocacy.”
Courtney understands the tax would cut needed benefits for Connecticut’s dedicated teachers and has been working for a decade to abolish it. His legislation is supported by a broad coalition of labor, employer, and patient advocate groups, including CEA.
“The American people gave Congress a mandate: address the rising cost of health care,” said Courtney. “Out of pocket costs are increasingly unaffordable for families, even those with insurance. If the 40% tax on employer sponsored health plans goes into effect, the affordability crisis will dramatically worsen. This tax has never generated a penny of revenue, yet it continues to threaten working Americans’ health benefits. After over a decade of work towards this effort, the House did the right thing for families across America by voting to fully repeal the tax. Now, Senator McConnell must take a cue from the strong statement made today in the House and bring this bill up for a vote in the Senate.”
A recent report found that 31 percent of employers offering health benefits would face this tax in 2022, and that number would increase to 46% by 2030. Employers are already shifting health costs on to families—deductibles on employer-sponsored plans have risen 212% over the past 10 years. This trend has exacerbated the growth in the underinsured, with the majority of newly underinsured Americans being those with employer sponsored insurance. Taxing health insurance would worsen and accelerate this trend.