2. Insurers’ crusade against ACA tax
The health insurance industry is lobbying yet again for a delay of the ACA's tax on insurers, but experts tell Axios’ Bob Herman and Caitlin Owens that a delay wouldn't benefit consumers as much as it might seem.
What they're saying: "All taxes, just like sales tax for example, are passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums," Kristine Grow, spokesperson for America's Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement.
Between the lines: Insurers do pass on the cost of the tax through higher premiums, when it’s in effect: Actuaries say the tax leads to premiums being 1%–3% higher than they would be otherwise.
- When the tax is paused, consumers avoid that premium increase, but insurers don’t pass on all of the tax savings through lower premiums. They keep a lot as profit.
Insurers should be able to handle the tax now that the ACA markets, in particular, have stabilized, former Medicare and Medicaid administrator Andy Slavitt said.
- "There was at least a decent argument to be made in 2015, 2016 that maybe you delay it until the markets are at some equilibrium where they're competitive and profitable," he said. "Now that they're competitive and profitable, that argument isn't as strong."