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- Congress must pass a funding bill by the end of January 19 to avoid a government shutdown.
- Lawmakers may include changes to three major Obamacare taxes in the bill.
Congress is attempting to avoid a government shutdown by the end of Friday, and their efforts could make significant changes to the healthcare landscape as well.
According to reports, delays of the implementation for a number of taxes built into the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, could be included in the funding bill.
A delay of the medical device tax – a 2.3% tax on the sale of certain devices – which was not enforced in 2016 and 2017 but goes back into effect in 2018, could be added. Additionally, a one-year delay of both the so-called Cadillac tax on high-end insurance plans and the Health Insurance Tax on all plans could be added to the bill.
GOP Rep. Kevin Brady, the chair of the Ways and Means committee, told reporters on Thursday that the Cadillac tax was of particular interest for Republican members.
These taxes are detested by many conservative Republican House members, and could make the spending bill more palatable for those members who have objections to other items included in the bill.
The Cadillac tax has been frequently delayed as it is not politically popular with constituents on either side of the aisle. There was concern among device and insurance industry insiders that the dysfunction in Congress could lead to the other taxes being implemented.
In addition to the ACA taxes, another large healthcare issue that could be addressed in the bill is funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers roughly 9 million children. Lawmakers told reporters that the program could get a six-year funding extension as part of the bill this week.