With the midterm elections quickly approaching, an overwhelming majority of voters are urging policymakers to suspend or repeal a tax on health insurance that drives up the cost of coverage for millions of small business owners and their employees. Results from a recent survey conducted by Morning Consult found that 73% of surveyed voters support Congressional efforts to suspend or repeal the health insurance tax (HIT).
The HIT unfairly hurts working families and small business employees by forcing those making between $10,000 – $50,000 to pay a greater share of the tax than those with higher incomes. Of those surveyed by Morning Consult, 80% expressed concern that the HIT could make it more difficult for small businesses to grow and provide health coverage for their employees. When asked about the rising cost of care, 74% said they belive the HIT puts affordable health care further out of reach for hardworking Americans.
Providing HIT relief is a common sense approach to helping address access and affordability concerns. Indeed, the latest findings from actuarial firm Oliver Wyman underscore the need for Congressional action – the return of the HIT in 2020 would result in a $20.3 billion tax hike on over 14 million small business employees and their families, further driving up the cost of care for those who need relief the most.
Nearly three quarters of those surveyed said a 3% increase in health insurance premiums is unaffordable. Congress has an opportunity to address these rising costs by extending relief from 2019 into 2020 or fully repealing the tax once and for all. Absent Congressional action, millions of Americans could miss out on crucial savings. An analysis by Oliver Wyman points to significant cost savings from a 2020 HIT delay, including:
- More than $150 in savings for individual small business employees;
- Nearly $500 for families purchasing coverage in the small group market; and
- Roughly $250 for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage.
Bipartisan legislation in the House championed by Representatives Noem (R-SD), Sinema (D-AZ), Bera (D-CA) and Walorski (R-IN) and in the Senate by Senators Barrasso (R-WY) and Heitkamp (D-ND) would provide critical cost savings to the 142 million Americans forced to pay higher insurance premiums as a result of the 2020 HIT. Since 2015, Congress has come together in joint bipartisan efforts to suspend the HIT for 2017 and 2019. Already, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to delay the HIT for 2020.
Voters agree – HIT relief is needed. Small businesses should not be left holding the bill for higher healthcare costs in 2020 and beyond.