Now that the Supreme Court has provided legal certainty on the recent healthcare reform law, the nation must turn its attention to affordability. While the law expands coverage to millions of Americans, a goal health plans have long supported, major provisions of the law need to be changed to avoid significant cost increases for consumers and employers.
Healthcare affordability is an issue that touches every part of our nation: single parents struggling to make ends meet; two-income families trying to get ahead in challenging times; and retirees trying to stretch their budgets. Equally important, rising medical costs crowd out government spending on other priorities, such as education and infrastructure, and put our nation’s businesses at a competitive disadvantage in a global economy.
The first priority is to address a number of the reforms taking effect in 2014 that will make healthcare coverage more expensive.
The law imposes a new $73 billion sales tax on health insurance that will add to the cost of coverage for people purchasing coverage on their own, for small employers, and for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries with private coverage. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that this tax will be “largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums.” And an analysis by Oliver Wyman estimates that this tax “will increase premiums in the insured market on average by 1.9% to 2.3% in 2014,” and by 2023 “will increase premiums 2.8% to 3.7%.”
This tax will add a financial burden on families and small businesses at a time when they can least afford it, and it should be repealed.