New Senate Health Bill Will Challenge Leaders, White House

The new Senate health insurance bill released Thursday would keep taxes on the federal taxpayers who currently pay the most but would cut two other taxes in the Obamacare law.

The Senate bill will allow insurers to sell low-cost, limited plans, but it would fail to totally repeal Obamacare as Republicans have sought for seven years and which the Business Council of Alabama has advocated.

Instead of cutting federal spending, the Senate bill would keep the net investment income tax and the 0.9-percent Medicare surtax on taxpayers who currently shoulder most of the federal income tax burden.

The salaries of insurance executives also would be taxed. Obamacare penalties on people who don’t buy coverage would be eliminated and federal health care subsidies would shrink.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants a vote next week on the revised bill that is different from the House version. Sen. McConnell will need 50 votes to pass the bill, with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence if the Senate votes 50-50 on the bill

Obamacare in 2010 made illegal private insurance policies for as many as 18 million Americans and allowed fewer insurance choices that included required coverage for people who didn’t need certain coverage.

President Trump has weighed in on the bill. “Republican Senators must come through as they promised,” he said, laying responsibility for the bill’s passage at the feet of Sen. McConnell.

The challenge for the Senate leadership is to force the slim Senate Republican majority to approve a bill that benefits insured men and women hit by higher premiums and deductibles since passage of Obamacare in 2010, to avoid upsetting the current marketplace that has tried to adjust to Obamacare, and fight the political heat from entrenched opponents inside and outside Congress.

The Washington Post released a chart outlining the differences in the Senate bill, the House bill, and Obamacare.

The bill would allow insurers to offer basic insurance to healthy people rather than more expensive plans that currently subsidize the market. Obamacare allows insurers to charge older insured up to three times as much as younger insured; the House and Senate bills would allow insurers to charge older customers up to five times as much as younger ones.


National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons in a paid ad in the Wall Street Journal urged President Trump to withdraw his nomination of former U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., to lead the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The NAM said Garrett has been a vocal and dogged opponent of the Ex-Im Bank – and the American jobs the agency supports. He has a record of seeking to destroy the Ex-Im Bank, not reform it.

“Garrett’s unwavering and absolute opposition to the Ex-Im Bank makes him incapable of serving as Ex-Im Bank chairman and president, a role that confers enormous authority over all of the agency’s operations. He would move our jobs, our wealth and our factories to other countries,” the NAM said. “His nomination should be withdrawn.”


Here’s the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Tax Reform Roadmap
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Harris 7/12) “Last month, Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called on all stakeholders to come together and produce recommendations and ideas for tax reform: As we work to achieve those goals, it is essential that Congress has the best possible advice and insight from experts and stakeholders. On Tuesday, the Chamber filed comments in response to Chairman Hatch’s call for feedback.

“[W]e would love to see comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform as soon as possible. And what does that reform looks like?

“Lower rates for all businesses – Our C corporations and pass-through entities face some of the highest marginal rates in the world. And, to top that off, while other countries are slashing rates, we are falling behind simply by standing still. It’s time to cut rates for all businesses.

“An internationally competitive system – We are the last member of the major industrialized OECD countries to cling to an anti-competitive worldwide system of taxation. Let’s jettison that like a Members Only® jacket at the end of the 1980s and adopt an internationally competitive territorial system of taxation. After all, that cash isn’t just sitting offshore taking a vacation – much of it has been reinvested in property, plant, and equipment, or used in restructuring so companies can stay globally competitive.

“Faster cost recovery – Let’s let businesses write off their investments more quickly so they can focus on doing what they do best: drive economic growth and job creation. And let’s make sure our research and development incentives encourage conducting research in the United States and locating the ensuing intellectual property that is created here.

“Investment taxes -Taxes on investment income and capital gains drive up the cost of capital, thereby reducing the amount of capital productively employed, productivity, wage gains, and international competitiveness. We strongly urge that in tax reform, investment taxes be kept as low as possible to avoid damaging economic ramifications.

“Compliance – No surprises here – the business community would like to see less complex tax rules to reduce compliance costs!

“Transition rules – Tax reform should include effective transition rules to provide adequate time for implementation of any new system of taxation and to help minimize economic hardships that businesses may encounter in moving to a new tax system.

“Certainty – Businesses need to know the rules of the road to best allocate resources. To have the most pro-growth impact, tax reform should be permanent to allow businesses to expand, create jobs, and remain competitive in the United States and abroad.”