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Washington, D.C – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke on the U.S. Senator floor to urge his colleagues to support his amendment, Heller 502, that permanently repeals the Cadillac Tax. Heller cited bipartisan support for a repeal of the Cadillac Tax, which previously passed the Senate unanimously. A permanent repeal of the tax also has support from organized labor, the chambers of commerce, local and state governments, and small businesses. Click HERE or below to watch Heller’s speech.

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise today to talk about my amendment – Heller 502.

My amendment addresses one of the most onerous taxes enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act—commonly known as the Cadillac tax,

The Cadillac Tax is a 40% excise tax set to take effect in 2020 on employer sponsored health insurance plans.

Mr. President, in Nevada, 1.3 million workers are covered by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan.

These are public employees in Carson City, service industry workers on the Strip in Vegas, small business owners and retirees across the state.

Hardly anyone in Nevada will be shielded from the devastating effects of the Cadillac Tax.

Across America, 54 percent of employers and almost 151 million workers who currently enjoy employer sponsored health care benefits will experience massive changes to their health care by the year 2020. 

We’re talking about reduced benefits, increased premiums and higher deductibles.

Hard-working Americans will suffer.

That’s why I joined Senator Heinrich from New Mexico in introducing, “the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act,” earlier this year with the support of over 75 organizations.

Some of these organizations include unions, chambers of commerce, small business owners, state and local government employees, and retirees – and they are all saying the same thing, “the Cadillac tax needs to be fully repealed.”

From unions to small businesses, employers are proposing sweeping changes to employee benefits NOW, to avoid the tax later.

First- Over 33 million Americans who use Flexible Spending Accounts, and 13.5 million Americans who use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) may see these accounts vanish in coming years as companies scramble to avoid the law’s 40 percent tax.

HSAs and FSAs are used for things like hospital and maternity services, dental care, physical therapy, and access to mental health services. 

Access to these life-saving services could all be gone for millions of Americans if the Cadillac tax is not fully repealed.

Second- I have heard from employers, large and small, from all over Nevada saying they will inevitably have eliminate services their workers currently enjoy, dramatically increase deductibles and premiums, and will have to cut certain doctors out of their networks.

This goes at the heart of Obamacare’s broken promises, “If you like your health care you can keep it,” “If you like your doctor you can keep it.”

This onerous tax targets Americans who already have high quality health care.

And Nevadans have reached out to tell me how this tax will affect them.

One of the stories that hit me the hardest was hearing from a school teacher in Las Vegas.

As the son of a school cafeteria worker, I know the sacrifices educators make each day.

Cynthia, who worked in Clark County schools, sacrificed a higher paycheck to ensure that a quality health plan would be there when she retired.

The Cadillac tax would place a 40 percent excise tax on her retiree benefits and cause her to deplete her savings to cover the loss.

Seniors have worked their entire lives for these benefits, and the Cadillac tax puts at risk the sacrifices they have made for decades to have a safe and stable retirement.

This is why I am committed to repealing this bad tax. 

Many are in the service industry, like Michael from Las Vegas who wrote to my office and explained how he is worried the cost of his union-sponsored health insurance premium will sky rocket.

He’s already seen his deductible increase and understands next year there will be more increases to his healthcare premiums.

Michael also shares his concerns with an imposed fine from the Internal Revenue Service should he not have health insurance.

He makes a valid point: if he loses his job then how can he be expected to pay for healthcare?

Norm, a city employee from Southern Nevada, shared another concern with me recently, “The last thing a self-insured provider wants do is reduce benefits to its employees.”

Back in 2015, 90 senators voted on the record in support of repealing the Cadillac tax and I hope that all 90 will join me again today.

They recognize it will hurt middle class families who, for reasons outside of their control, have health plans that already or soon will reach the Cadillac tax’s cost limits.

The tax will force many employers to pay steep taxes on their employees’ health plans and flexible spending accounts, and possibly eliminate some employer-provided health coverage plans altogether.

Under this tax, deductibles will be even higher and benefits will be reduced even more—putting a strain on middle class families trying to make ends meet.

The short-term success was pushing the delay through 2020. Now, it needs to have a full repeal.

So, I encourage all of my colleagues to join me today in voting in support of Heller 502 to fully repeal this bad tax and send a message that Congress is serious about lowering costs for all Americans.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.