Anchorage, AK – State and local business leaders called on Congress to delay the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) at a roundtable meeting today at the Alaska Chamber. The discussion included small businesses owners who expressed concerns about the impact of the HIT on Alaska small businesses and the self-employed if the tax is not delayed before 2018.
“The Health Insurance Tax is essentially a tax hike on small businesses health care, making it harder for small business owners to purchase good healthcare for their employees,” said Curtis W. Thayer, President and CEO of the Alaska Chamber. “As Congress is on the verge of passing much needed tax reform, the Chamber urges Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young to work with their colleagues in Congress to immediately pass a delay of the Health Insurance Tax so that small businesses aren’t hit with a tax hike during the holidays.”
The HIT is a federal sales tax on health insurance plans purchased by small business owners, the self-employed, and workers who receive their health care coverage through an employer. Without immediate action by Congress to delay the tax, the HIT is expected to increase premiums nationwide by $14.3 billion next year, when the tax goes into effect in January.
“As a small business owner, I fully understand the challenges small business owners face when trying to grow their business,” said Linda Peters, Owner of ProComm Alaska LLC in Anchorage. “The Health Insurance Tax is just another obstacle to this growth, because it directly raises the price of the healthcare we purchase for our employees, and their families. In addition, if this tax does take effect next year, that’s several thousand dollars I have to pull from other areas of my company’s budget, including funds reserved for wage increases, hiring additional staff, and fixing worn down equipment. I hope Congress recognizes that the Health Insurance Tax is a tax hike on small businesses and immediately passes legislation to prevent this harmful tax from taking effect in January.”
The HIT has also been estimated to impact 156 million Americans, with 50 percent of those paying the HIT earning an income between $10,000 and $50,000. A recent study by Oliver Wyman shows that families in the small employer market could be faced with $500 on average in higher premiums in 2018 as a result of the HIT.
Alaska is home to more than 69,000 small businesses, which employ more than 141,000 private sector workers. According to research by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, the HIT will jeopardize between 152,000 to 286,000 private-sector jobs across the U.S. by 2023, and reduce real GDP by as much as $20 billion to $33 billion over the same period.
The Stop The HIT Coalition represents the nation’s small business owners, their employees and the self-employed who are actively working to repeal the Health Insurance Tax. Since the Coalition’s formation in 2011, it has grown to include more than 35 national organizations, representing millions of small business owners across the country. For more information, please visit StopTheHIT.com.