Obamacare tax not fair to government

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine threatened this week to sue the federal government for what he says is a “misguided” attempt by the United States Health and Human Service to tax state and local governments for the Affordable Care Act.

The HHS indicated it intends to apply tax assessments against state and local governments for the ACA’s Transitional Reinsurance Program.

Basically, the revenue generated by the program is to be used by the government to partially reimburse commercial insurers covering individuals with high health care costs — which absolutely does not fall in line with what the ACA was touted as, affordable health care for everyone.

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Health care costs for many increased in the past five years since the passage of the ACA. Others remain uninsured thanks to a “coverage gap” where many people make too much money to qualify for Medicaid or ACA tax credits, but still can’t free up a few hundred extra dollars a month for health insurance premiums.

As part of the law’s funding of the reinsurance program, the ACA authorizes tax assessments against health insurance companies and certain employers — like the state and county governments — who offer self-insured group health plans. This was first introduced last year as a way to help stabilize insurance premiums in the individual market for the first three years of the marketplace’s operation.

DeWine claims there is no precedent in Supreme Court case law or in the United States Constitution itself for the federal government to impose such a broad-based tax against the states directly.

The fee, according to the ACA, would be $63 per insured person and cost more than $5 million statewide, DeWine’s office said.

That is a fee that many municipalities in Ohio just cannot afford and it is unfair to ask those entities to pay for the shortcomings of a system that didn’t deliver what was promised.