Republicans propose to delay, pause
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[December 13, 2017]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House
Republicans proposed on Tuesday to delay or suspend several taxes under
former President Barack Obama's healthcare law, including a tax on
medical devices and the so-called "Cadillac" tax on generous health
The move represents a new Republican attempt to roll back provisions of
the 2010 Affordable Care Act widely known as Obamacare, after repeated
failures by Congress' majority party this year to repeal the law.
Republicans in the House and Senate are also in the final stages of
reconciling tax overhaul legislation, including a proposal to scrap
Obamacare's individual mandate, which imposes a tax penalty on Americans
who do not obtain health insurance.
A spokeswoman for the House Ways and Means Committee said the additional
proposed healthcare tax rollbacks would not be part of the broader tax
Republicans could try to merge the healthcare tax proposals with a
must-pass government funding bill that is expected to be passed by Dec.
22, when current funding runs out. But to succeed, Republicans in the
Senate, who hold a slim majority of seats, would need an assist from
Democrats to get past procedural hurdles.
In a statement, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady announced five
new Republican-sponsored bills to provide targeted relief from Obamacare
taxes, saying he looked forward to "advancing legislation in the weeks
One proposed bill would retroactively eliminate Obamacare penalties for
employers who did not offer health insurance to their employees over the
last three years, as well as for next year.
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A sign on an insurance store advertises Obamacare in San Ysidro, San
Diego, California, U.S., October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File
The bill would also delay for one year the Cadillac tax on high-cost
employer-sponsored insurance, which is otherwise scheduled to go
into effect in 2020. Labor unions oppose this tax because their
members often receive more generous healthcare plans, and they fear
it would increase their costs.
Another bill would suspend for five years the tax on medical
devices, such as pacemakers and artificial hips. It was first
imposed in January 2013 as a funding mechanism for Obamacare, a law
that has brought medical coverage to millions of previously
The medical device tax has powerful opponents in both parties and
manufacturers have lobbied heavily against it.
Other proposals in the package would suspend a tax on health
insurers for two years, and provide two years of relief from a tax
on over-the-counter medications.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Tom Brown)
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