House Republicans introduce plan to delay ACA taxes

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 - Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas

The Affordable Care Act’s taxes on health insurance, high-cost health plans and medical devices would be delayed under a series of bills introduced by House Republicans, with the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) quickly coming out in support of suspending the device tax.

The pieces of legislation introduced by Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee would:

  • Delay the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices for five years.
  • Delay the health insurance tax for two years, though in 2018 it would require insurers to offer a rebate on premiums to customers.
  • Delay the health insurance tax for two years for plans regulated by Puerto Rico.
  • Delay the 40 percent “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans by one year.
  • Eliminate penalties for employers who don’t offer health insurance in 2018, along with three years of retroactive relief.

“Obamacare’s failures are continuing to hurt families across the country—and allowing burdensome health care taxes to continue or go back into effect would make these problems even more severe,” House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said in a statement. “As we continue working toward a patient-centered health care system, Ways and Means Republicans are taking action to provide targeted relief from taxes that stand in the way of affordable health care, innovative treatments, access to medications, more jobs, and bigger paychecks for hardworking Americans.”

The ”Cadillac tax” in particular has been a controversial and frequently targeted measure of the ACA, even among Democrats. The tax has never taken effect, with some Democrats supporting a previous measure to delay its implementation until 2020.

The 2.3 percent medical device tax has also been delayed before, but that suspension period is set to end on Dec. 3. A five-year delay is “a step in the right direction” toward getting rid of it altogether, according to MITA.

“Allowing the device tax to restart in 2018, even temporarily, would amount to a tax hike on the industry and could result in job loss as well as disruptions to the medical imaging industry’s ability to innovate,” Patrick Hope, MITA’s executive director, said in a statement. “Ultimately, we hope that Congress will continue to work toward full repeal of the medical device tax to safeguard high-paying, high-quality industry jobs and ensure that patients have access to the latest medical imaging technology.”