/PRNewswire/ -- Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today said the proposal to impose a 35 percent tax on insurers for individual health insurance plans worth more than $8,000 is unfair and unnecessary.
The proposal, introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, would also levy the 35 percent tax for family plans worth $21,000.
"We're pleased that Sen. Baucus stopped short of taxing American workers directly, but we fear that ultimately they will pay the price in higher-cost insurance," Hoffa said. "Middle-class wage earners cannot afford to pay more for health insurance than they already do. We much prefer the House plan, which would pay for expanded coverage by imposing a surcharge on those who can afford it - the wealthiest Americans."
"We will fight to convince the conference committee to drop this excise tax," he said.
Hoffa said the proposal misses the point that many plans are expensive because insurers have too much market power, not because they offer more health care than cheaper plans.
Hoffa also said the plan includes some laudable proposals, and he welcomed the progress toward insurance-market reform that is so urgently needed.
"We're pleased that the plan eliminates lifetime limits on coverage," Hoffa said. "But we're disappointed that it doesn't include a requirement that employers provide coverage for their employees."
"We do applaud his efforts to expand Medicaid to cover anyone with income less than 133 percent of the poverty level, including childless adults," Hoffa said.
Hoffa said the Teamsters support the House plan and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee plan.
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