Curbelo, Velazquez, Rubio Introduce Bill to Relieve Puerto Rico and other Territories' Healthcare Burdens

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Washington, D.C., March 1, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments
“Most of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t impact the territories, but the Health Insurance Tax is one of a small number of provisions that does, and it’s hurting families in our U.S. territories who are trying to get ahead. These residents are subject to the burdens of the Affordable Care Act, but they do not have access to the benefits. We must provide relief to those who are incorrectly exposed to this burdensome tax.”
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Today, Representatives Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Nydia Velázquez (NY-7) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced their bipartisan, bicameral Territory Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2017, legislation that would provide relief to U.S. Territories, like Puerto Rico, where the annual fee on health insurance providers is imposed without regard to the way they are treated under other provisions of the law.
 
The Territory Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2017 would amend the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Section 9010 by exempting health insurance providers in U.S. territories from paying the tax, which has been passed on to consumers in the forms of higher premiums. Since residents of the territories are ineligible to use the ACA marketplaces to obtain insurance, they’re paying for something they do not have access to.
 
“Most of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t impact the territories, but the Health Insurance Tax is one of a small number of provisions that does, and it’s hurting families in our U.S. territories who are trying to get ahead,” Curbelo said. “These residents are subject to the burdens of the Affordable Care Act, but they do not have access to the benefits.  We must provide relief to those who are incorrectly exposed to this burdensome tax.”
 
“Americans living in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories are paying tax on a benefit they do not receive” Velázquez said. “This legislation would take the long overdue step of correcting this imparity and relieve a tax burden for residents of the Commonwealth who are already struggling in the face of severe economic difficulty.”
 
“ObamaCare doesn’t only harm the pocketbooks of Americans on the mainland; it hurts Americans in Puerto Rico as well. The liberal bureaucrats who wrote and passed this disastrous law were blind to the needs of the island and instituted a health insurance tax that raises premiums for millions of consumers,” said Rubio. “It is unfair to Puerto Ricans to have to pay this ObamaCare tax and endure higher premiums, only to be excluded from participating in the same health system that the rest of the United States does. As we work on the larger goal of repealing and replacing ObamaCare, this legislation would repeal the law’s costly and unfair tax on Puerto Rico and help begin the process of revitalizing the health care system on the island.”
 
A PDF of the bill is available here.
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