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Farm Bureau, CBRT meeting Monday focuses on Obamacare tax

Author: Joey Bunch - November 3, 2017 - Updated: November 3, 2017

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Obamacare farm bureauCatherine Reviati reviews the different Affordable Care Act enrollment options Thursday in Hialeah, Fla. Health care advocacy groups are making an against-all-odds effort to sign people up despite confusion and hostility fostered by Republicans opposed to former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

A tax on insurers based on their size, a provision of the Affordable Care Act, is set to take effect Jan. 1, but the Colorado Business Roundtable and the Colorado Farm Bureau want to talk about how much of that will be passed on to small businesses, farmers and ranchers in higher premiums.

They are putting on a meeting on the subject Monday at 9 a.m. with the Stop The HIT Coalition  at the Farm Bureau office at 9177 East Mineral Circle in Centennial, if you’re interested.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is among the tax’s biggest opponents. He has a bill, the Healthcare Tax Relief Act, to delay adding the tax on insurers again. It took effect in 2014 but was suspended by Congress in 2015.

The failure of legislative efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare last summer has opponents hustling to head off the tax with another postponement, a banner Gardner is carrying.

“Pretty simple — business gets fee, fee gets passed on,” Gardner said on the Senate floor last week. “As is the case with most excise taxes, if this tax takes effect, costs will be passed to consumers in the form of higher premiums as confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office.”

Gardner cited an economic who estimated premiums could rise by 3 percent in each the next three years because of the tax.

The Stop The HIT Coalition was founded to fight the levy in 2011 by Tim Cuff of the National Federation of Independent Business, and the NFIB, the Farm Bureau, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are among the 39 business groups make up its membership.

As Republicans search for ways to pay for other tax cuts — and President Trump’s border wall — the health insurance tax repeal has not been gained traction, however

The Washington Post reported about the difficulty Paul Ryan had with it in August:

Ryan’s reluctance may be related to making Congress’s tax-math work. The health-insurance tax is estimated to raise $145 billion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That revenue loss would further complicate efforts to keep any tax changes from adding to the long-term federal deficit. Republican leaders need to achieve that goal in order to use a budget procedure that allows them to bypass Democratic opposition in the Senate.

“If you’re going to cut the corporate tax rate, somebody’s got to pay for it,” said Don Williamson, the executive director of the Kogod Tax Policy Center at American University.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.


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