GOP Proposals May Cap Employer-Sponsored Health Tax Exclusion

Some GOP proposals aimed at "repeal and replace" include language indicating they might cap the current tax exclusion on employer-sponsored health plans.  This exclusion basically allows employers to exclude from an employee's taxable income the amount of health insurance premiums contributed by the employer.  

Price's "Empowering Patients First Act" would limit the exclusion to $8,000 for individuals and $20,000 for families.

The Hatch-Burr proposal would cap the exclusion at $12,000 for individuals and $30,000 for families.

At issue is the longstanding tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance, more than $250 billion that Americans who receive insurance from their jobs don�t pay in federal income or payroll taxes annually, according to 2016 figures from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Critics of the exclusion note that it�s the federal government�s largest tax subsidy, a giveaway born in the 1940s that has led millions of Americans to be tethered to their employers for health benefits. What�s more, the exclusion encourages employers to offer overly generous coverage, which effectively drives up health care costs for everyone.

Opponents of capping the tax exclusion now, however, argue that employers will simply pass the costs to the worker. 

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