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December 13, 2017

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Heller says Cadillac tax ‘most onerous’ part of Obamacare

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Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller.

WASHINGTON — Nevada Sen. Dean Heller today called the so-called Cadillac tax the “most onerous” part of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare.

The provision, a 40 percent excise tax on the priciest health plans, stands to impact 1.3 million Nevadans, from city employees to union workers, Heller said at a news conference with other Senate Republicans.

Heller is a longtime critic of the tax and spearheaded a bipartisan push with Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich last year to delay the implementation of the tax two years until 2020.

“There isn’t anybody in the middle class or anybody else who is struggling who would’ve been able to afford their health care,” Heller said.

President-elect Donald Trump supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, including the Cadillac tax, though he has indicated he supports keeping two provisions — one that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plans until they turn 26 and another that forces insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Heller said health care is a key concern among his constituents.

Heller, who lives in Smith Valley in Lyon County, shared the story of a woman who works at a local convenience store whose health care premiums have doubled in the last year and is worried they will double again when the Cadillac tax is implemented.

“If we think we’re out of touch right now with affordable health care for the middle class, just wait until a 40 percent excise tax hits on every health care program throughout the state of Nevada,” Heller said.

Heller spoke alongside colleagues including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, part of the Senate Opportunity Coalition, a group of senators focused on developing conservative solutions to poverty and income inequality.

Asked about Senate Republicans’ plans for addressing the Cadillac tax and, more broadly, the Affordable Care Act, Scott said he and his colleagues are “strongly headed in the same direction we’ve been before, which is repealing Obamacare.”

“What we’re looking at is a full repeal as we know it,” Scott said.

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