Joyce, Brindisi Lead Bipartisan Charge to Lower Health Care Costs

November 6, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman John Joyce, M.D. (PA-13) and Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) led a bipartisan letter to Congressional leadership calling for the immediate delay of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), which would raise health care costs for families across the country.  Reps. Joyce and Brindisi together garnered the support of 51 freshmen serving in the 116th Congress.

“As a physician-legislator, I understand firsthand that the Health Insurance Tax harms patients in Pennsylvania and around the country,” said Joyce. “Lowering health care costs is a bipartisan priority, and delaying this superfluous tax is a commonsense solution that makes health care more affordable.”

“Families in Upstate New York are already worried about skyrocketing health care costs, and the Health Insurance Tax will only make things worse,” said Brindisi. “We need to work together, with Democrats and Republicans, to lower the cost of care, not raise prices for families and business. It’s time for leadership to act and delay this tax.”Without Congressional action, the HIT will impact approximately 142 million Americans upon its return.

“As new members of the U.S House of Representatives, we write to request quick action to address health care affordability,” the members wrote. “Rising health care costs remain a primary concern for American families and small businesses, a message we hear frequently in our districts.”

A 2018 analysis from Oliver Wyman found that the HIT increased premiums by an average of $196 per person on the individual market. The same analysis also estimated that the HIT led to an increase of over $240 in premiums for Medicare Advantage members, as well as an average increase of nearly $480 for families. By increasing health care costs for more than 142 million Americans, reinstating this tax would affect Americans across every district and state.

Congress has voted multiple times to delay collections of the HIT. Under current law, the HIT is scheduled to return in 2020 at its highest annual rate. Furthermore, health insurance providers take these additional costs into consideration, basing premium prices on uncertainty of its return. Eliminating the tax in its entirety would result in lower health care costs for Americans and provide much-needed stability to the health insurance market.

The full letter and list of signees is below:

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy,

As new members of the U.S. House of Representatives, we write to request quick action to address health care affordability. Rising health care costs remain a primary concern for American families and small businesses, a message we hear frequently in our districts. 

One way to immediately address these concerns and demonstrate our bipartisan commitment to lower health care costs is to prevent the return of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) for 2020 and 2021 – thereby lowering health insurance premiums for consumers and protecting nearly half of all Americans from higher health care costs. We respectfully request your consideration of a delay of the HIT in appropriate legislation that will become law before the end of the year.

Congress has previously come together on a bipartisan basis to address this important issue, most recently by including a suspension of the tax for 2019 in a continuing resolution that was signed into law last year. A suspension of the HIT was enacted because there is broad recognition that the tax increases health care costs for consumers. Absent further Congressional action this year to delay the tax, the HIT will return, impacting approximately 142 million Americans. 

According to an Oliver Wyman analysis, reinstatement of the HIT in 2020 would result in a premium increase of $479 for families with small group coverage and $458 for families with fully insured large group coverage. Additionally, seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage would see higher premiums, an average $241 increase for nearly 22 million seniors in Medicare Advantage plans. Consumers in the individual market and state Medicaid programs would also be impacted, seeing an estimated increase in premiums by $196 and $157 respectively. At a time when approximately 40% of Americans would struggle to cover an unexpected expense of $400, and many seniors live on fixed incomes, this tax would add an unnecessary financial burden for millions of Americans.

As Congress considers policies to bring down health care costs, acting immediately to extend a moratorium on the HIT for 2020 and beyond is a step Congress can take now to protect individuals and families, seniors, and small businesses from higher health care costs. As broader conversations on improving health care continue, we urge you to include a delay of the HIT for 2020 and 2021 in legislation that must pass before the end of the year, to deliver lower health care costs to millions of Americans across the country.

Sincerely,

Current Cosigners (51): Brindisi (D-NY), Joyce (R-PA), Stevens (D-MI), Cox (D-CA), Van Drew (D-NJ), Armstrong (R-ND), Johnson (R-SD), Pappas (D-NH), Cline (R-VA), Gonzalez (R-OH), Keller (R-PA), Rouda (D-CA), Reschenthaler (R-PA), Stauber (R-MN), Cunningham (D-SC), Kim (D-NJ), Crenshaw (R-TX), Guest (R-MS), Wright (R-TX), Meuser (R-PA), McBath (D-GA), Axne (D-IA), Pence (R-ID), Cisneros (D-CA), McAdams (D-UT), Gooden (R-TX), Lee (D-NV), Riggleman (R-VA), Timmons (R-SC), Steil (R-WI), Horn (D-OK), Fletcher (D-TX), Waltz (R-FL), Miller (R-WV), Burchett (R-TN), Spano (R-FL), Craig (D-MN), Delgado (D-NY), Schrier (D-WA), Steube (R-FL), Murphy (D-FL), Hagedorn (R-MN), Bishop (R-NC), Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), Shalala (D-FL), Houlahan (D-PA), Davids (D-KS), Spanberger (D-VA), Hern (R-OK), Taylor (R-TX), Finkaneur (D-IA)

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