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OPINION: Gardner pushes to delay harmful Health Insurance Tax

Reposting LTE that originally appeared on Sunday, February 10, 2019 in The Denver Post.

Sen. Cory Gardner stepped up on an issue vital to Colorado’s small businesses and working families, the health insurance tax. This tax directly raises premiums, and Gardner has co-sponsored legislation to keep it on hold for two more years.

If his bill passes, it would be a great relief. My company employs 60 people, and even with the health insurance tax suspended this year, our health plan is my third highest expense and the only one I have no control over. I’ve consistently seen annual premium increases of at least 16 percent, and for the last three years, it’s been 20 percent. If the health insurance tax returns in 2020, it will cost me an extra $25,000.

Even as I spend more each year, my contribution represents an ever-smaller percentage of the premium, so my employees are forced to kick in more. Their burden will only get worse with the health insurance tax dipping into the funds I have available for wage increases and other benefits. Many small businesses are expecting similar impacts, so the health insurance tax will harm working families statewide.

I’m in the business of helping doctors manage payments, so I see health care issues from all sides — and no one is happy about the health insurance tax. It raises costs and undermines Coloradans’ shared goal of expanding health care access.

Andrew Graham, Denver