U.S. Rep. Tim Scott of Charleston will join fellow Republicans to try to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act following last week's split Supreme Court ruling that upheld much of the law.
Many Americans fail to see that the federal health care law represents a large tax increase that will kill jobs, Scott told a Hilton Head Island Republican lunch group Monday. Scott is running for election in a district that will include Beaufort County.
Scott said the law, dubbed by opponents as Obamacare, includes a higher Medicare tax rate on individuals making more than $200,000 a year or $250,000 for married couples, and adds a tax on investment income to fund the federal health program for seniors. The law also includes an excise tax on so-called "Cadillac" health plans.
Companies with more than 50 workers must also offer health benefits to every full-time employee or pay a penalty of $2,000 per worker.
"It represents the wrong direction and the wrong legislative agenda that seems to destroy that which undergirds this nation, which is free enterprise and the freedom to choose," Scott said. "What this says is, 'If you don't make the choice I want you to make, I'm going to penalize you by taking your resources out of your pocket because you didn't do what I told you to do.' And that's wrong."
A review of the law by the Associated Press -- based on estimates by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office -- shows the law will have a minimal effect on the nation's labor force.
THE FACTS: The CBO estimated in 2010 that the law would reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by roughly half a percent.
But that's mostly because the law will give many people the opportunity to retire, stay at home with family or switch to part-time work, since they will be able to get health insurance more easily outside of their jobs. That voluntary retreat from the workforce, made possible by the law's benefits, is not the same as employers slashing jobs because of the law's costs, as GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney implies.
The law's penalties on employers who don't provide health insurance might cause some companies to hire fewer low-wage workers or to hire more part-timers instead of full-time employees, the budget office said. But the main consequence would still be from more people choosing not to work.
THE FACTS: The tax increases fall heavily on upper-income people, health insurance companies, drug makers and medical device manufacturers.
People who fail to obtain health insurance as required by the law will face a tax penalty, although that's expected to hit relatively few because the vast majority of Americans have insurance and many who don't will end up getting it. Also, a 10 percent tax has been imposed on tanning bed use as part of the health care law. There are no other across-the-board tax increases in the law, although some tax benefits such as flexible savings accounts are scaled back. Of course, higher taxes on businesses can be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices.
Individuals making over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000 will pay 0.9 percent more in Medicare payroll tax and a 3.8 percent tax on investments. As well, a tax starts in 2018 on high-value insurance plans.
Companies with more than 50 workers must also offer health benefits to every full-time employee or pay a penalty of $2,000 per worker. But, in some cases, that would be cost-effective for them, according to the AP.