If you're one of the 1.3 million Nevadans covered by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, and if you like your plan, you should take a seat before reading any further.
If the White House has its say, your insurance plan is about to change for the worse. That's because companies are expected to phase out many of these plans. Whether you're a public employee, a union employee or you work in a manufacturing plant, many Nevadans are going to feel the wrath of the Obamacare "Cadillac tax."
The tax imposes a stiff 40 percent penalty on employers if they sponsor an employee health plan with annual premiums exceeding $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family. Yes, if you are in the middle class and actually like your health plan, the government is about to tax that plan until it goes away.
Growing up in my dad's auto shop, I remember when Cadillac's slogans were "universal symbol of excellence" and "world's best synonym for quality." The Obamacare Cadillac tax is the opposite. If anything, it makes sure all hard-working Nevadans have the same terrible health insurance.
The Obama administration contends this tax will hit only a tiny sliver of generous health care plans, hence the name "Cadillac tax." But in reality, the percentage of plans hit by the tax will grow exponentially by the end of this decade. Set to take effect in 2018, this tax is expected to impact 54 percent of employers and almost 151 million workers, including retirees, small businesses, government employees, the self-employed and low- and moderate-income families. Hardly anyone in Nevada will be shielded from the devastating effects of the Cadillac tax.
What will happen as a result of this tax? The cost of health insurance will increase for hard-working families, who will be forced to pay higher co-pays and deductibles because companies will no longer have an incentive to bear the burden of subsidizing moderate health plans enjoyed by middle-class Americans.
The Cadillac tax also limits key health care benefits such as flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and supplemental insurance plans that employees currently utilize. This tax will negatively affect more than 33 million Americans annually relying on FSAs and HSAs to limit out-of-pocket costs and lead healthier lives.
Oddly enough, for all the bad the Cadillac tax will cause, it has done one good thing: It has united opposition to prevent it from taking effect. Both union leaders and the business community want this Obamacare provision to be gone. That's why I've teamed with Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to introduce new, bipartisan legislation to repeal the Cadillac tax. The entire thing.
With Clark County's diverse workforce relying on employer-sponsored health plans, there isn't a community in America this Cadillac tax will affect more than Las Vegas. There are certain to be many displaced employees finding themselves in 2018 with worse health plans than they have today. As your U.S. senator, I will stop that from happening with this legislation.
— Republican Dean Heller represents Nevada in the U.S. Senate.