Voters expect GOP lawmakers to work diligently to completely discard the “health care” law President Donald Trump campaigned (and won) on, but some Republicans in Congress have proposed to keep some of the measure’s unpopular taxes purportedly to stave off bigger cuts to Medicaid.
Reuters reported that other Republicans are jumping on board with the idea so-called moderate Republicans proposed.
But keeping some of the taxes in the Senate bill risks alienating conservatives. On Tuesday, 45 conservative groups and activists sent a letter to Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, urging the Senate to repeal all Obamacare taxes.
One cornerstone tax that could remain is the net investment income tax, which imposes a 3.8 percent surtax on capital gains, dividends and interest, the sources said. The taxes most likely to be abolished directly impact consumers and the health industry, including a tax on health insurance premiums, the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost employer-provided insurance and the medical device tax.
Another proposal being floated is to keep all the taxes from the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, but to scale them back. A group of 13 Republican senators led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not completed a full draft of the bill, but is sending pieces to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to assess the impact of various provisions.
Taxes likely were the main reason people objected to a new, bloated, “health care” law. Americans, at least the conservative ones, want to lower their tax burden, not increase or maintain it to pay for other people’s mandatory insurance policies.
One GOP lawmaker seemed optimistic. Senator John Thune said he thinks “most of the taxes are going to go away. Our members are still having a conversation about if we want to make changes that are in the end going to require some additional revenue.”
Most, not all?
Some of Obamacare’s taxes could also be repealed later when Congress tackles new legislation overhauling the U.S. tax code, two current Senate aides said.
“There’s no question that the current debate is not centered on eliminating all the taxes in Obamacare right now,” Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina said last week.
Under a process called reconciliation, the bill needs at least 50 votes to pass, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote if needed.