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Congress should suspend Health Insurance Tax

To the Editor:

Sometimes it seems that our politicians are more concerned with fighting each other than getting something done for their constituents. But I am pleased to see that some our Arizona representatives in Washington have done the right thing and co-sponsored the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act (S. 172 and H.R. 1398).

The HIT is part of the Affordable Care Act, but recent findings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services suggests it isn’t actually helping to insure more Americans. In fact, federal officials linked the HIT to a 15.3 percent increase in the net cost of private insurance in 2018, the most recent year the tax was in place. The same year, the number of people enrolled in health insurance plans declined by one million.

As a financial service advisor, those numbers don’t surprise me. The HIT is assessed on the fully insured marketplace, which is where 88 percent of small businesses purchase plans for their employees. It costs hundreds of dollars more per employee per year, so fewer businesses can afford to insure their employees and more workers are sharing in the costs. Naturally, some are priced out of it altogether.

I commend U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and U.S. Sen. Martha McSally for supporting legislation to suspend the HIT, and I encourage them both to continue fighting to get the bill passed before Congress adjourns for the year.

Bill Cassidy, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, CLTC, is managing partner at Spence, Cassidy & Associates, LLC.

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