A.B.A. sees health insurance legislation as ‘step in the right direction’

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The American Bakers Association this week voiced its support for the Small Business and Family Relief Act, a bipartisan bill introduced this week that will delay the health insurance tax by two years. Congressmen Ami Bera of California and Charles Boustany of Louisiana introduced the bill.

“While A.B.A. strongly supports a full repeal of the tax, a two-year delay is a major step in the right direction,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A. “This delay will help bakers better understand myriad regulations coming their way regarding the Affordable Care Act, and allow Congress more time to address some of the more onerous provisions within the law.”

Health insurance companies must pay a new tax on the benefits they provide to individuals, families and small and mid-size employers. The new tax starts at $8 billion in 2014 and rises to $14.3 billion in 2018. The Congressional Budget Office has said that the tax largely will be passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums, increasing health care costs to bakers and other manufacturers alike. For example, one study shows the tax will increase the cost of small group family coverage by $360 in 2014 and $6,830 over the next decade, the A.B.A. said.

“A.B.A. will continue to urge Congress to address this and many other concerns within the Affordable Care Act,” Mr. MacKie said. “It is our hope that the bipartisan support of this legislation will help both the Senate and the White House see the need to act quickly to prevent another economic hit to bakers and all other manufacturers.”
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