Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Health Tax Cuts Geared to Help Rich

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Health Tax Cuts Geared to Help Rich

Article excerpt

It may become more expensive for people with lower incomes to buy health insurance, but a House Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would make going to a tanning salon cheaper and cut taxes for insurance companies and wealthy investors.

In all, the bill unveiled Monday night would cut taxes by nearly $600 billion over the coming decade, according to estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The GOP plan repeals nearly all of the taxes raised in the 2010 law known as Obamacare.

"They hurt the economy, they hurt health care, they achieved nothing," said Rep. Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican and Ways and Means chairman. "I don't want Americans to continue to struggle under the Obamacare taxes, which is why we're moving to repeal them."

Some tax changes in the 2010 law being repealed, such as a 10 percent surcharge on visiting a tanning salon and caps on pre-tax contributions to flexible spending accounts, hit a broader part of the population.

Melinda Norton, president of the American Suntanning Association, said the Obamacare tax had a devastating effect on the industry.

"At the time, there were 18,000 small businesses across the country, now there's 9,000," Norton said.

But the law's biggest revenues came from assessments on the wealthy and corporations, and they will be the biggest beneficiaries from a repeal.

"This is a payoff to insurance companies to get them to buy into their program," said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey and member of the Ways and Means Committee. "This is pretty obvious."

Pascrell said the GOP proposal would hasten the insolvency of Medicare and reduce the availability of coverage for the poor and middle class.

Pascrell said he would try at a hearing on the bill today to block a provision that would increase to $1 million the amount of an executive's salary that an insurance company could deduct from its corporate taxes. …

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