Dems Aim To Punt Vote On Obamacare Taxes
Health-care companies are making a last-minute push to delay ObamaCare taxes as part of a year-end government funding deal, but they face resistance from Democrats who want to punt the issue until next year when they control the House.
Powerful health-care lobbies are pushing lawmakers to delay the implementation of the taxes, worried about taking a financial hit. Lawmakers have voted to push off the health law’s medical device tax, health insurance tax, and tax on high-cost “Cadillac” health plans in the past with bipartisan support.
But this year, Democrats who are poised to take control of the House in January are resisting the push from industry and Republicans, sources say, hoping to deal with the issue when they have more leverage.
“We’re hopeful and we’re pushing on the hill,” said Scott Whitaker, CEO of AdvaMed, a lobbying group for medical device companies.
The worry for medical device makers is that if delaying the taxes slips until next year, House Democrats might not make the device tax as high of a priority.
“You always want to take advantage of the moment, and I think we’re in the moment,” Whitaker said, adding that there is support among Democrats as well as Republicans for delaying the tax.
But dealing with the three ObamaCare taxes this year faces a steep climb.
“The sense that I get is that the Democrats would prefer to deal with the ACA [Affordable Care Act] taxes under Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi,” said James Gelfand, senior vice president for health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee, which represents large employers and is pushing to delay the Cadillac tax.
A House Democratic aide struck a similar note. “I don’t see an incentive for Democrats to work on these issues in the limited time we have left this year,” the aide said.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) gave industry groups a boost this week when he proposed delaying all three Obama-Care taxes as part of a broader tax bill.