There are a host of positive elements in the Affordable Care Act. Many go into effect Jan. 1 with the intent of driving down the cost of health insurance. One element, however, will do just the opposite and threatens our state’s ability to obtain “affordable care” at all.
ACA imposes a health insurance sales tax that will increase the cost of coverage. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the tax will cost the nation $100 billion over the next 10 years. Over the same period, it will cost Floridians an estimated $8 billion. New bipartisan legislation proposes a two-year delay on the tax. It’s a great start. We simply need more time to find a better solution.
Over its first decade, the tax projects to cost the average single Floridian between $2,115 and $2,886 in premium increases and the average Florida Medicare Advantage member, many on fixed incomes, an extra $4,181 in increased premiums and reduced benefits.
Over the same period, Medicaid health plan costs could increase $1,184, putting pressure on already strained state budgets, which could lead to decreased benefits and potentially create coverage disruption.
It’ll cost us jobs (nationally, by 2022, the private sector impact could range from 146,000 to 262,000) and add a financial burden on Florida families and small businesses at a time we can least afford it.
I’m urging your readers to write their congressional delegation and support the Small Business and Family Relief Act. In fact, ask them to co-sponsor it. It’s our best chance at keeping the Affordable Care Act affordable for all Floridians.
Michael P. Gallagher
The writer is president and CEO of AvMed, a Florida-based health care coverage provider.