Rep. Gingrey: Healthcare Tax Propping up Obamacare

Tuesday, 19 Mar 2013 03:28 PM

By David Yonkman, Washington Correspondent

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President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law would have “fallen like a house of cards” without the provision requiring people to pay a tax for not buying healthcare, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey says.

The Republican physician from Georgia joined fellow members of the GOP Doctor’s Caucus on Tuesday on a conference call to discuss how to combat Obamacare on its third anniversary.

Gingrey said that House Republicans are left with no alternative other than to chip away at the bill now that the Supreme Court has upheld it and Democrats hold the majority in the Senate.

He cited Republican efforts to repeal the bill in its entirety ahead of upcoming fiscal deadlines, but said that they will continue work on eliminating aspects such as the healthcare-rationing Independent Payment Advisory Board and the “unsustainable” Community Living Assistance Systems and Supports program.

Gingrey acknowledged that removing portions of the bill could become problematic as it could allow others to look more palatable on their own. One way to dispense with the bill in its entirety though, he said, would be to remove the individual mandate which, he said, forces healthy people to subsidize the expenses of the sick.

It is designed to prop up the system, but it will eventually collapse with younger people unable to afford the escalating costs, according to Gingrey.

“Had that not been in there, the whole thing would have collapsed like a house of cards,” Gingrey said. “I think we now ought to go full Monty at chipping at every aspect of the bill.”

The doctors were especially concerned that younger consumers haven’t faced the full effect of the complex bill yet because it hasn’t yet been fully implemented.

A major barrier that college graduates will face is finding opportunities for entry into the workforce because the limit for employers to provide health insurance or pay a tax is 50 full-time positions.

They cited job providers who are capping their full-time hires at 49 employees and instead subcontracting work and creating more part-time positions. They also cited the complexity of meeting that threshold since full-time work could become categorized as 30 hours per week.

“It didn’t have to be that complicated,” U.S. Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee said. “When all is said and done, it may not cover all that many more people.”

The GOP doctors discussed the need for free market alternatives to lower costs such as buying insurance across state lines, reforming medical malpractice lawsuits, and increasing tax deductions for healthcare expenses.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona said he likened finding people who support Obamacare in his congressional district to “finding a chicken supporting Col. Sanders. Health care is overregulated, overpriced and in serious need of free market reforms.”

Tuesday’s call was hosted by the tea party group FreedomWorks.

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