The House has approved a bipartisan repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) so-called “Cadillac”excise tax on certain high-cost insurance plans.
ACA Cadillac Tax Repeal
The Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Bill (HR 748) cleared the House on the evening of July 17 by a 419-to-6 vote. The bipartisan bill would repeal the 40 percent excise tax under the ACA known as the “Cadillac tax” on certain high-cost employer-sponsored health care plans.
Congress has repeatedly delayed the ACA’s “Cadillac” tax, which is currently set to go into effect in 2022. However, HR 748 would fully repeal the tax.
Although the measure has bipartisan support in the Senate, as for when it will get its legs in the upper chamber remains to be seen. Lately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., has been viewed on Capitol Hill as focusing more on moving nominations than considering tax bills.
HR 748’s Large Price Tag May Signal Hope for Tax Extenders
Notably, HR 748 dodged House Democrats’ “pay as you go” rules for tax legislation, thus carrying with it a large price tag with no offsets. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the bill would cost the federal government more than $196 billion over 10 years.
Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has signaled that Democrats’ support for repealing the ACA’s “Cadillac”tax without pay-fors may signal a newly opened door for tax extenders. Grassley has consistently expressed that he is focused on addressing the previously and soon to be expired tax breaks known as tax extenders but has been waiting for the Democratic controlled House to send such a bill, noting that tax legislation must originate in the House.
However, House Democrats’ tax extenders bill, the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Bill of 2019 (HR 3301) would offset its costs by causing the GOP tax law’s increase in estate tax exemption amounts to sunset early at the beginning of 2023. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97), the estate tax provisions would expire at the start of 2026.
The bill cleared the House Ways and Means Committee last month but has not yet reached the House floor. Senate Republicans have called any proposal to repeal provisions under the TCJA a “nonstarter.”