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NEA report finds fault with provision of Health Care Act

04.17.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

NEA report finds fault with provision of Health Care Act

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 4th- The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest labor organization that represents teachers and education support staff and other educational professionals with more than 3 million members, released a report that finds fault with one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) is affiliated with the NEA. The report analyzed a key tax provision, the excise tax on high-cost health plans.

The NEA stated that the report finds that although the excise tax is often referred to as a tax on overgenerous health benefits, it’s likely to be a tax driven by other things, including where health plan members live, employees and workers in high-cost insurance markets.

“We continue to support the Affordable Care Act because it already has strengthened health benefits for kids and families and provided an opportunity for millions of Americans to obtain quality, affordable care. This new report however, highlights a significant and damaging flaw in the excise tax. The excise tax on high-cost plans can randomly and unfairly cause hardship to American workers and their families. In fact, the excise tax will disproportionately hurt women and older workers,” stated Kim Anderson, senior director of the NEA’s Center for Advocacy and Outreach.

The NEA report stated the excise tax wrongly equates high premiums with overly generous health benefits. It is flawed that some plans offering moderate benefits will face a steep tax, while plans with better benefits may not face any tax at all.

Employers are already preparing to shift health care costs to workers by cutting benefits or passing the tax liability to employees even though the law doesn’t hold employees responsible for paying the tax.

“We believe that it’s more accurate to call the excise tax on high-cost plans an ‘Age Sex-Geography Tax,’ added Ms. Anderson.