WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and nine of his Senate colleagues introduced legislation today to improve the health law by repealing the so-called “Cadillac tax.” The bill also includes a “Sense of the Senate” clause demanding that any repeal be offset so it does not increase the federal deficit or negatively affect the health insurance coverage that 9.9 million Americans have received because of the health law. U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Bob Casey (D-PA) are cosponsors.
“We can control health costs while standing up for working Americans,” Brown said. “By repealing the Cadillac tax, we can prevent certain employer-provided health plans from being taxed. But we shouldn’t end one tax on middle class taxpayers while leaving them to foot the bill for an increase in the federal deficit.”
“We know that the Affordable Care Act is working, but as we’ve seen there are important fixes that need to be made to ensure that everyone is able to access affordable care and that we are building a more sustainable health care system,” Schumer said. “I am proud to support this bill to address one of these important fixes and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure this goal is achieved. I am committed to working on this so thousands upon thousands of working men and women won't see their benefits cut or taxed.”
“This tax unfortunately would target far too many health plans and place far too great a burden on working families,” Leahy said. “We must find a way to contain the cost of health care without creating geographic disparities and limiting the benefits available in health plans.”
“The Cadillac tax is a harmful provision that would affect one in four employers,” Hirono said. “We are already seeing how this looming deadline is putting coverage that working families depend on at risk. However, repealing the Cadillac tax without making up the difference is irresponsible. We cannot continue to govern on a shoestring budget. I look forward to finding solutions that will allow millions of families to continue their health coverage while funding essential programs that support small businesses, increase educational opportunities, and grow our economy.”
“Over time, this tax will impact more and more health plans,” Shaheen said. “We must continue to find ways to ease the burden on employers providing health insurance for their workers. It’s my hope that Congress can work in a bipartisan way to make this improvement to the Affordable Care Act.”
“I thank Sen. Brown for introducing this legislation. Imposing an excise tax on health insurance plans would be a disaster for millions of middle class Americans,” Sanders said. “Some have said that this tax only falls on ‘Cadillac’ health care plans, but the reality is that the plans this bill will tax are more like Chevrolets. Workers have fought hard to negotiate decent healthcare benefits, often in exchange for lower pay. This excise tax unfairly punishes them. It has got to be replaced.”
“The ACA works. Approximately 17 million Americans who didn’t have healthcare now have it, seniors have saved more than $11.5 billion in prescription drug costs since 2010 and those with pre-existing conditions now know their coverage can’t be ripped away,” Casey said. “Throughout history, from Social Security to Medicare, Congress has sought to make commonsense changes to substantial laws upon implementation. Changing the so-called Cadillac tax will protect high quality, affordable healthcare for middle class families. It’s far past time for Congress to come together, accept that the ACA is the law of the land and work together to strengthen it.”
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes a 40 percent nondeductible excise tax on health plans with values exceeding $10,200 in coverage for singles and $27,500 for families. The provision is indexed to inflation and will rise automatically over time, potentially affecting all employer-sponsored plans over time.
The bill would strike the excise tax while demanding that repeal be fully offset so it does not increase the federal deficit. Over the next ten years, the excise tax is projected to raise $87 billion in revenue. The bill would demand that repeal is accompanied by a proposal to offset lost revenue to prevent an increase in the federal deficit and protect the integrity of the health law.