This week’s column goes in two very different directions: domestic policy and foreign policy.
Hidden Taxes in ObamaCare
As I’m sure would be the case for any 2,400 page bill, there are a few good ideas in President Obama’s health care law, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or ObamaCare. Unfortunately for the American people, the bad ideas outweigh the good ones. Among the many bad ideas are twenty new or increased taxes included in ObamaCare [a full list can be found here
]. Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be highlighting some of these new taxes. As compiled by Americans for Tax Reform, let me point out two of them today.
Individual Mandate Excise Tax
(Takes effect Jan. 2014):
Individual: Anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance as defined by Obama-appointed bureaucrats must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following
*[AGI – Adjusted Gross Income]; **Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS).
|| 1 Adult
| 2 Adults
| 3+ Adults
|| 1% AGI/$95
|| 1% AGI/$190
|| 1% AGI/$285
|| 2% AGI/$325
|| 2% AGI/$650
|| 2% AGI/$975
|| 2.5% AGI/$695
|| 2.5% AGI/$1390
|| 2.5% AGI/$2085
Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337.
According to nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data
, roughly 75 percent of these so-called penalties (ruled to be “taxes” by the Supreme Court) will fall on the middle class. Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346
Tax on Small Businesses and Self-employed Individuals (Takes effect Jan. 2014):
Starting in January of 2014, a new annual tax will be imposed on “most of the country’s 5.8 million small businesses and 15 million self-employed individuals,” according to the National Federal of Independent Business. The new tax is disguised as a tax on “health insurers.” Though it may look like insurers are bearing the burdens of this tax because they physically write the checks, the nonpartisan CBO rightly warned Congress that the new tax “would be largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums for private coverage.” I’m a cosponsor of legislation to repeal this new tax. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993
I support an open and deliberative debate about ways in which our health care system can be reformed at the federal level. I believe the few good ideas in ObamaCare should be added to a new bill that is not 2,400 pages and which the American people have been given an opportunity to read, study, and give input on before Congress votes on it. I stand by the idea that it’s absolutely imperative that we repeal ObamaCare and replace it with the best ideas from the current law combined with patient-centered, patient-controlled reforms that would make access easier and costs lower.
A Nuclear Iran is a Threat to the World
Last week, the United Nations General Assembly began its general debate in New York. On Thursday, September 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a very decisive and powerful speech outlining why Iran cannot be permitted to get a nuclear bomb. Though some critics remain hyper-focused on whether Israel will or won’t attack Iran, in some cases even wrongly characterizing Israel—not Iran—as the problem, it is clear that it’s the Iranian regime that gravely threatens world peace.
To echo the Prime Minister’s dire warning, even without nuclear weapons, Iran is very dangerous. As I’ve stated before, Iran is on the U.S. State Department’s official list of terror-sponsoring governments, and has worked with terrorist groups to wreak havoc and destabilize the Middle East. In Iraq, Iran gave explosives and other weapons to militants who then killed American troops. Iran has threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, through which a significant amount of the world’s oil and commerce flows. And Iran’s leaders have repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel—a country roughly the size of the Ninth District—off the map.
As the United States and Israel – the oldest democracy in the Middle East – work to ensure that Iran’s dangerous nuclear ambitions do not come to fruition, both countries must stand together. Again, I hope that international diplomacy and economic sanctions will disrupt Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons-making capability, but it’s far from certain. All options, including the potential use of military force, must be on the table. Iran cannot be allowed to get the capability to make nuclear weapons.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.