Kyrsten Sinema, Republicans move to repeal Obamacare tax on insurers
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a freshman Democrat, and two Republicans filed a bill Thursday that would repeal Obamacare’s tax on health insurers, saying the levy increases premiums and should be scrapped permanently.
Insurers have lobbied furiously against the health insurance tax, or “HIT,” saying they must pass along the tax to consumers.
As a result, Congress has acted repeatedly to stave off the tax, which is poised to return in 2020.
Ms. Sinema, who flipped an Arizona seat from red to blue in November, joined Republican Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and Cory Gardner of Colorado in saying a straight repeal would give everyone peace of mind.
The action follows a string of votes Ms. Sinema took during her House tenure to delay or repeal taxes that were included in Obamacare to pay for its benefits but were often found to be onerous.
Her votes differentiated her from Democrats who defended the 2010 law’s provisions at all costs.
The HIT “raises costs for Arizona families and businesses,” Ms. Sinema said. “I’m proud to work across party lines to end this harmful tax and make health care more affordable for Arizonans.”
The tax is supposed to bring in $161 billion in federal revenue over the 10-year budget window, according to May estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
Yet sponsors of the repeal say their constituents cannot afford higher premiums. They cited estimates from Oliver Wyman, a consulting firm, that say an enrollee in the individual market would pay an extra $165 in 2020 if the tax returned.
A senior in a Medicare Advantage plan would face more than $250 in additional costs, the consultants estimated.