(WASHINGTON) —Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa issued the following statement today about the Senate plan to impose an excise tax on insurers for higher-cost health plans that will mean a huge middle-class tax hike to workers:
“The Senate plan includes a provision that would impose an excise tax on insurers for higher-cost health plans that is simply a huge middle-class tax hike. The excise tax would be shifted onto workers and potentially force steep reductions in benefits or exorbitant increases in costs.
“This provision is really a massive tax increase on the middle class by calling it a tax on insurers, but it is naive to think that insurers won’t pass this tax directly on to workers.
“Any claim that it affects only ‘Cadillac’ plans and thus the wealthy is misleading. This tax will fall on one-third of Americans in 10 years. The average affected household will pay $7,600 more in taxes between 2013 and 2019, according to a recent analysis of the proposal.
“The idea that this tax will curtail rising premiums is just dead wrong.
“Many plans are expensive because they cover workers in dangerous occupations, because they are in regions where insurers have near-monopoly power, or because they cover a group that’s older than the general population.
“We’re pleased that the Senate is moving forward on the health insurance reform that we so desperately need, but not at the expense of middle-class wage earners. We much prefer the House plan, which would require the wealthiest Americans to give back part of the tax cuts they have been given over the past decade.”