st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table" /> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table" /> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table" />
Thursday November 17, 2011 | 02:48 PM

Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine has joined two other Republican senators in introducing legislation this week seeking to repeal a key element of President Obama’s health care overhaul.

The Jobs and Premium Protection Act goes after a tax levied on health insurance plans, which proponents say health plans can afford and which helps pay for expanded insurance coverage. The other two senators who authored the bill, Republicans Orrin Hatch of Utah and John Barrasso of Wyoming wrote a column for Politico this week charging that the tax’s costs will be shifted to employers and policy holders, particularly small businesses.

“The insurance tax alone could impose $87 billion in costs on businesses and their employees in the first 10 years — diverting revenue that could be used for higher wages, new hires and capital investment,” they wrote.

In joining on to the bill when it was introduced Wednesday, Snowe said that, “This tax could increase the cost of health insurance by 15 percent for small businesses, and kill hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Snowe was the only Republican on the Senate Finance Committee to vote in favor of the health care bill when it was approved by that committee in October 2009, though she said then that she did so to move the process forward and said she had concerns about the bill and might change her mind on the issue.

Snowe then voted against the bill on the Senate floor in December 2010.

Snowe favors repealing the entire bill, not just the health insurance component, but says more "workable reforms” must be passed benefits now offered by the health care law maintained, including the ban on excluding people from health coverage based on preexisting conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.

The liberal blog Think Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said it is hypocritical of the Republicans to complain about policies that help pay for federal initiatives instead of using deficit spending.

“Of course, the appropriate response isn’t to roll back the taxes — which are necessary to finance reform and ensure that coverage expansion is fully paid for — but to strengthen provisions that help lower costs and mitigate the cost-shift,” says Think Progress. “The ACA (Affordable Care Act) already requires insurers to spend 80 to 85 percent of their premium dollars on health care rather than administrative expenses and forces companies to justify proposed premium increases.”

 

About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

About the Author

Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@mainetoday.com

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

Previous entries

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

More

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.