AP Doesn’t Know A Mandate When It Sees One
A January 12th Associated Press article carries the headline “Employer health mandate may be dropped” and Erica Werner reports:
The House-passed bill included an income tax increase on individuals making more than $500,000 a year and couples making over $1 million, as well as a requirement for large businesses to cover their workers. The Senate bill contained neither. It included a tax on high-value insurance plans and a modest increase in the Medicare payroll tax. Instead of requiring employers to offer health coverage, the Senate bill penalized businesses if any of their workers obtained government-subsidized health care.
The House and Senate bill do structure their employee mandates differently. But just because the final bill may look more like the Senate version of the mandate, does not mean that the mandate has been dropped. As Heritage Foundation fellow Nina Owcharenko explains, the House bill penalizes businesses for not offering health insurance by imposing a sliding scale payroll tax of up to 8%. The Senate, meanwhile, imposes a $750 a head tax penalty.
These taxes are designed differently. But both inflict tax penalties on businesses that do not buy health insurance for their employees. How can one possibly be called a mandate and the other not?