H.R. 3590, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," and the related budget reconciliation legislation, H.R. 4872, the "Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009"
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region, strongly opposes both the Senate-passed version of H.R. 3590, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," and the related budget reconciliation legislation, H.R. 4872, the "Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009." H.R. 3590 and H.R. 4872 are fundamentally flawed as the underlying framework they would establish is the wrong approach to health reform. The Chamber will include House votes on this legislation in our annual How They Voted scorecard—including votes on the rule, or other procedural votes.
The Chamber has expressed concerns repeatedly with H.R. 3590. The Senate bill would: impose job-killing mandates and penalties on businesses, increase taxes and burdens on small businesses, create dangerous new entitlements while cutting Medicare, create new plan requirements that will increase costs, and ultimately do little to control the long term spiraling of healthcare costs. H.R. 4872 is no "fix" for the Senate-passed bill. It includes a long term hidden tax by deferring the "Cadillac tax" on certain high cost health plans until 2018. The number of Americans that will ultimately suffer from this hidden tax will mushroom each year because the tax is indexed to inflation—the growth in the Consumer Price Index—rather than the much higher growth rate of healthcare costs. In the end, this new tax will ensnare a growing number of Americans, much like the growing problem of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
This bill would also impose a new 3.8 percent "Medicare tax" on non-wage income that would target high income earners, income from interest, dividends, capital gains, and some profits from investments in partnerships and S-corporations. If this tax and other tax increases included in the President's FY 2011 budget become law, certain taxpayers could expect a marginal tax rate on capital gains and qualified dividends of 23.8 percent, and a marginal tax rate on nonqualified dividends of 43.4 percent. This tax is not indexed for inflation, and will have an insidious, AMT-like affect.
Congress must start over and create a new, bipartisan health reform bill. The Chamber strongly urges the House to oppose H.R. 3590 and H.R. 4872. The Chamber will include votes on, or in relation to, this legislation—including on the rule, or other procedural votes—in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten