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Letters to the Editor

Letter: End misguided health care taxes

To the Editor:

Sound tax policy is about more than just the government’’s bottom line.

It’s a tool governments often wield to avert or incentivize certain behaviors.

At times, Washington has taxed gasoline to discourage Americans from relying on it exclusively to power their vehicles. Washington has taxed cigarettes and alcohol to discourage Americans from smoking and drinking too much.

So when Washington passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, the justification for taxes on health insurance plans and medical devices was to… make health care more affordable?

Given the incentivizing nature of our tax policy, it’s incredibly disconcerting that the ACA taxes a product that Americans are actually required to purchase.

The stats are in, and taxing health insurance doesn’t bode well for Americans.

The health insurance tax is expected to cost families an additional $360 per premium next year. The tax will hit Medicaid managed care plans, the Medicare Advantage program, and individual and employer coverage —Illinois alone is expected to shoulder nearly $400 million in new premium costs through 2023.

The ACA’’s tax on medical devices has resulted in an estimated 14,000 job losses in the industry and prevented the creation of 19,000 new positions. The combined direct and indirect employment impact of the tax could be as many as 165,000 jobs, so far.

And the punches keep coming. A new excise tax on high-cost health plans, which will predominantly affect employers, kicks in in 2018. If they don’’t change their coverage, more than 50 percent of employers will be at risk of triggering the 40 percent tax in the next seven years.

The ACA is not living up to its promise of affordability. That’’s why I have signed on as a co-sponsor to the three bills in the House of Representatives that would repeal these costly and misguided taxes, and move toward a more affordable health care system for Illinois individuals, families, and businesses.

A previous Congress was so invested in encouraging people to buy health plans that they mandated insurance coverage, —but then taxed that same coverage.

Let’’s quit sending Americans mixed signals and stop taxing their health care.

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren

R-14, Winfield

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