U.S. Congress unveiled its $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill early Wednesday morning.
Within this 2,009-page omnibus was nestled a section intended to delay the Cadillac tax (sec. 101, pg. 2,000), an excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage which is currently planned on being imposed in 2017.
The intended delay is for two years – 2019, as opposed to 2017. Two more years until employers will have to deal with the Cadillac tax, and more time for Congress to further discuss this piece of the ACA.
Also included in the omnibus is a provision requiring a study of suitable benchmarks for age and gender adjustment regarding the Cadillac Tax, with a report due in 18 months. A two-year suspension of the medical device tax; and a one-year suspension of the health insurance tax. The amount of revenue derived from the suspension of these taxes is estimated to be $35 billion.
When questioned on Wednesday regarding the Cadillac tax provision in the omnibus, current White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “the steps [towards repealing the ACA] that are included in this proposal are quite meager,” in relation to the 50 or so times Republicans have previously tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Earnest noted, in addition to the two-year suspension of the so-called Cadillac tax, the omnibus includes provisions that over time will make the excise tax more effective once the Cadillac tax is implemented. He reiterated that the two-year delay is minimally significant.
Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have led negotiations to delay the Cadillac Tax since November.
As of Friday the 18th, the house has passed the omnibus spending bill by a vote of 316 to 313, despite some misgivings by Nancy Pelosi that the bill wouldn’t pass. Next steps are the Senate, and then the President’s decision. In a press briefing Friday morning, Earnest said they were confident about building a bipartisan majority for the bill.