During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama pledged often and everywhere that Americans individuals making under $200,000 individually or families making under $250,000 would not see an increase in their taxes. However, by signing into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010, President Barack Obama has officially turned his back on that promise. As the Heritage Foundation’s Senior Tax Policy Analyst Curtis Dubay points out, the impact of Obamacare on taxpayers will spread wide and cut deep. Overall, there are 18 new taxes slipped into this bill, raising $503 billion over a ten-year period to cement Democrats’ dubious claim of budget neutrality. Chief among these taxes are:
- A 40 percent excise tax on health insurance plans
- An increase in the Hospital Insurance (HI) portion of the payroll tax
- Payroll taxes on investment
- Mandates on individuals an businesses to purchase health insurance, enforced with penalties in the event of non-compliance
In another move that smacks of politics as usual, Democrats have made sure these taxes and fees are not implemented until after their re-election campaigns. Almost all of these provisions take effect after the 2010 midterm elections, and the vast majority will not occur until after the 2012 presidential campaign, insulating President Obama and Congressional Democrats from the resulting political pressure. The greatest increase occurs in 2013, when Obamacare tax revenues triple from $12 billion to $36 billion, ultimately increasing to $102 billion per year in 2019. See a fuller list below:
Many of the new taxes will be targeted at medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, and even indoor tanning salons, all of which will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Many large employers have already gone public on how these new taxes will effect them, citing job losses, decreases in offered benefits, or moving jobs overseas as the likely results. Other provisions, such as restricting how much Americans can set aside in their health savings accounts and flexible savings accounts, will increase the amount paid in income taxes by low- and middle-income Americans.
Enactment of the new health care law will prove a steep price to pay for taxpayers, even though Democrat legislators and the President have done their best to protect themselves from the electoral fallout. As Dubay explains:
Over time, the hodgepodge of new taxes in effect now or in the future will substantially slow economic growth and affect taxpayers from all walks of life. This will become most apparent in lost wages and international competitiveness…
These lost wages, largely out of the pockets of low- and middle-income families, represent a huge cost of this legislation that does not show up in any official tables, but this cost is every bit as real. It reduces families’ incomes just as surely as an income tax hike would and breaks the promise that President Obama made when he said he would not raise their taxes.
Vivek Rajasekhar currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/About/Internships-Young-Leaders/The-Heritage-Foundation-Internship-Program