Benefits and Compensation

GOP Blueprint for Replacing ACA Causes Employer Concern

By David Slaughter, JD, BLR Senior Legal Editor

The recently released Republican blueprint for replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while generally well received by plan sponsor groups, elicited concern for its proposal to tax employer-provided health benefits above a certain threshold.

The American Benefits Council (ABC) welcomed the U.S. House GOP plan’s emphasis on wellness programs, health savings accounts, and repeal of the ACA “Cadillac tax.” However, ABC added, “we are concerned that the report advocates capping the excludability of employer-sponsored health coverage from taxation — a decades-old pillar of tax policy — which could unintentionally erode the employer-based system.”

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) echoed these concerns. The idea of taxing health coverage to reduce its cost was “invented and advanced by academics, but the real-world consequences would mean lower pay for hardworking taxpayers,” said James Gelfand, ERIC senior vice president of health policy, in a statement. “A tax on benefits has no place in a conversation about improving the health care system, and it overshadows the many good ideas otherwise included.”

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