Huffington Post: Passing the DC Health Care Buck

Passing the Health Care Buck

Posted: 06/25/2014 3:40 pm

By now, we’ve all heard about the challenges and the ups-and-downs of the new health care law. From cancelled plans to delayed programs and technical glitches in online applications, the Affordable Care Act has had its share of problems. However, in the end, the Affordable Care Act — or ACA — has turned out to help millions of Americans young and old. Far from perfect, the Department of Health and Human Services declared success with over eight million people enrolled, and over 30 percent being young Americans aged 18-34.

The reality of the new law is that if it is a "success" or not oftentimes depends on where you live. While some states are having problems implementing their own state-based exchange program, other states are relying on the Federal Government to carry its citizens. And in Washington, DC, a disturbing unintended consequence is taking place: The D.C. City Council recently passed a new law that applies a new health care tax on health insurance carriers. The D.C. City Council passed the Health Benefit Exchange Authority Financial Sustainability Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2014 in May that leverages a 1 percent tax on all health-insurance carriers with gross receipts of $50,000 or more within the District of Columbia.

Why? Washington, D.C. and the board of D.C. Health Link — the Washington, D.C. health care exchange — are concerned about the financial well-being of the exchange and needs a new revenue stream to help support its program. In fact, there is a growing list of sales taxes


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