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Health care mandate a burdensome tax

Published: October 6, 2012

Much of the discussion around the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it has been purely philosophical. The federal government's expanded powers and the loss of individual freedom are topics of great concern. Less has been said, however, about the practical implications of the new health care law. The Supreme Court ruled the law is not a mandate, but a tax. The truth is the legislation contains nearly 20 new taxes that will drive up health care costs and discourage people from buying private health insurance. The people most in need will be hit the hardest.

One particularly egregious example is the Health Insurance Excise Tax, an $87 billion tax on insurance premiums. Self-insured large companies are exempt from this tax, so the entire burden falls on those least able to afford it, families and small businesses. According to estimates, some families will pay $400 more a year for insurance by 2016. A quarter of a million jobs and $30 billion in sales could be lost due to this one tax.

When the stated purpose of passing the federal law is to provide more people access to affordable health care, how does increasing the cost of premiums for families who currently have health insurance make any sense at all? Oklahoma's families and small business can't afford this burdensome tax.

Dan Ramsey, Oklahoma City

Ramsey is president and CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma. Legislation is pending in Congress to eliminate the health care insurance excise tax.