Health care is complicated -- that might be the understatement of the year. But even though efforts to reform Obamacare as a whole have hit a stumbling block, hope exists for meaningful changes to help working families and employers.
Most urgent is heading off a health insurance tax, called the HIT, before it goes back into effect next year.
The HIT tax was always a bad idea. The $156 billion it would raise over 10 years would largely be passed on to employers and their workers. It represents about $500 in added costs a year for each family receiving health insurance through an independent company.
To compensate for skyrocketing health care costs, companies are cutting back on hiring, expansion and investments that would make them more competitive. A recent study by Oliver Wyman shows the private sector would lose between 152,000 and 286,000 jobs if the HIT is reinstated. The majority of the job losses will come from small businesses.
More taxes are not the way to improve health care access. Congress should at least put off this tax for a year. Health care premiums are being set right now, and premiums will rise next year for many folks in Wisconsin without another one-year suspension of the HIT.
Fortunately, Congress has united against the HIT in the past. Congress can find common ground again, and the Wisconsin delegation can lead the way.
Chris Reader, director of health and human resources policy, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.