It's sadly no surprise that lawmakers are working on an irresponsible package of tax cuts without any pretense of caring about the massive $700 billion cost, but hidden in that negotiation is an attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act's cost-control efforts and deal a huge blow to workers' pocketbooks.
The deal reportedly includes a two-year delay of the excise tax on high-cost, employer-provided insurance plans — commonly referred to as the "Cadillac tax" — along with a similar delay of the medical-device tax, in exchange for fully funding the ACA's "risk corridor" program (which limits insurers' losses if their costs to cover enrollees end up significantly exceeding the premiums charged, and vice versa). On top of that, last week, the Senate voted 90-10 to fully repeal the Cadillac tax.
Ironically, this news comes not long after the Congressional Budget Office detailed just how costly ACA repeal would be, adding $5 trillion to the debt over the next 20 years, and amid growing evidence that the ACA is playing a role in the current health-care spending slowdown. Controlling health-care costs, as the ACA sought to achieve, will prove critical to our ability to afford other priorities like a strong social safety net and important investments.