For immediate release
September 17, 2015
Washington, DC – Today, Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) is introducing legislation, which will eliminate the 40% excise tax on health benefits as part of the Affordable Care Act. If implemented in 2018, the tax could put health plans for thousands of UNITE HERE members and millions more nationwide at risk.
Statement by D. Taylor, President of UNITE HERE
“It is essential that we put the word ‘affordable’ back into the Affordable Care Act. We applaud the expanded access to healthcare, but that is meaningless if we cannot afford decent healthcare.
“I applaud Senator Heller for introducing legislation in the Senate that will repeal the onerous 40% excise tax that is scheduled to be imposed on the so-called “Cadillac” health plans. These plans are better called the mini-van tax, as they hit the hard working men and women in our union and their families who have fought for years for better benefits often in lieu of increased wages. That is how important healthcare is to our members and their families.
“Heller joins other concerned Republicans and Democrats like Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) who have already signed on to House legislation to repeal the tax. They all know that putting a 40% tax on people who make under $50,000 – which is what the majority of our members make a year in combined salary and benefits – is absurd. Billionaires aren’t even taxed at that rate. And if they were, at least they could afford it. Our members cannot.
“I am deeply appreciative of the work of Senator Heller and many House Democrats, such as Congresswoman Titus. At the same time, I have been deeply frustrated at Senate Democrats for not signing onto Heller’s bill. Happily, Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) has stepped up and signed on to the Heller bill. I am very thankful for the Senator’s leadership and hope it starts a trend of Senate Democrats to recognize it is time to fix the ACA to work for everyone by signing onto the Heller bill or creating a repeal bill of their own. At the end of the day, it isn’t about the politics of sponsorship, it is about the action of repeal.
“I certainly hope the Senate Democrats overcome their aversion to the so-called “pay for” provision because they already have plenty of very recent examples dealing with this issue. Take for instance, voting not to pay for the $140 billion for doctors, the $95 billion for various tax extenders, and the growing support for giving back $30 billion to medical device manufacturers that are making billions on the ACA. On the heels of Labor Day, one would hope that Senate Democrats could see their way clear to support repeal of the 40% tax on our workers, rather than sticking us with the bill.
“Any member of Congress who wishes to keep the tax is welcome to come to our union town hall meetings, look our members in the eye, and tell them why a 40% tax on their benefits is a good idea.”
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 women and men across North America who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries.