Congressional Republicans still have an opportunity to relieve constituents of at least one Obamacare regulation before 2017 is up.
Obamacare's health insurance tax, previously delayed by Congress, is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2018 The regulation hits insurance companies with a 4-6 percent tax on every plan sold. As the Washington Post reported earlier this month, "UnitedHealth Group and a coalition of other groups against the tax have been circulating research from Oliver Wyman estimating that premiums will rise 2.6 percent next year if the tax is allowed to go into effect."
In a failed push for Congress to delay implementation back in April, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform rounded up the data on how this regulation will impact consumers:
According to the American Action Forum, the tax is responsible for premiums increasing by as much as $5,000 over a decade and half of the tax will be paid by those earning less than $50,000 a year.
The health insurance tax directly impacts as many as 1.7 million small businesses, 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market, and 23 million households covered through their jobs. The National Federation of Independent Business estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.
A Kaiser Family Foundation report published Aug. 10 that outlined expected premium changes in 2018 noted, "An additional factor driving rates this year is the return of the ACA's health insurance tax, which adds an estimated 2 to 3 percentage points to premiums."
One group is making a fresh push for Congress to take action on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's home turf. On Aug. 15, the Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce Issues Mobilization Council launched a radio ad campaign on two major stations in the Milwaukee media market calling for Congress to stop the health insurance tax.
"Unless Congress acts soon, the tax on your health insurance could cost many Wisconsin families an extra $550 in health insurance premiums," the ad tells listeners.
It appears those calls have fallen on friendly ears. On Monday, Ryan, R-Wis., met with Wisconsin business owners advocating for delayed implementation of the tax, according to Stop The HIT, which reports the speaker explained, "You don't have to convince me this is a bad tax."
But congressional leaders have a lot on their plate coming out of the August recess. Whether delayed implementation of this particular tax will be possible amid an agenda to tackle tax reform, the debt ceiling, and more remains to be seen.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.