The House on Wednesday passed a measure to delay ObamaCare’s health insurance tax for two years and expand Health Savings Accounts, The Hill reported.
The bill, which passed 242-176, is part of a Republican effort to blunt Democratic attacks on the GOP for rising premiums – a key argument in the midterm elections this year.
U.S. Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) issued a press release voicing his support of the measure.
DesJarlais said ObamaCare’s medical device tax threatens to increase patients’ health care costs and prevent life-saving innovations. The tax also threatens jobs. The congressman said he supports expanding tax-exempt Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
“Democrats promised ObamaCare would reduce costs and improve health care access for Tennesseans,” said DesJarlais, a doctor. “Just the opposite happened. Millions lost the insurance and doctors they liked. The law forced them into unaffordable government plans with high premiums and deductibles. Unable to afford higher prices, many chose to pay a penalty rather than participate.
“Especially in rural areas, ObamaCare resulted in hospital closures, because of consolidation. Only the largest medical providers are able to cope with complex regulations. Small businesses unable to cope shed employees and benefits, contributing to a part-time, low wage economy,” he said.
DesJarlais published an op-ed on Fox News in June that said, “Do any of these lines sound familiar?
“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it. The Affordable Care Act will cut your yearly premiums by $2,500. The law will “bend the health care cost curve downward” and save taxpayer money. Oh, and the website will be as easy to use as Amazon.
“These are the arguments ObamaCare supporters, including in the liberal media, deployed to pass their federal health care takeover. They should sound familiar and completely unrelated to the experience of most Americans.”
The measure that DesJarlais voted for Wednesday would “lower health care costs, expand patient access and improve quality, such as eliminating federal mandates and taxes, increasing economic opportunity, and encouraging responsible saving,” his press release said.
The measure, HB 6311, is available to read here.
DesJarlais also mentioned an executive order issued in June that creates Association Health Plans, permitting small businesses and other organizations to join across state lines to negotiate better terms with insurance companies, as large companies do. Bills to expand HSA contributions and allowable expenses, including over-the-counter medicine, passed the House of Representatives Wednesday. A bill to permanently eliminate the medical device tax passed Tuesday.
The health insurance tax has already been suspended for 2019. This bill suspends the tax for 2020 and 2021, The Hill said.