Tax And Employee Benefit Consequences of Healthcare Reform

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Popular media coverage of “healthcare reform” has focused largely on how individual consumers might be affected. Less attention has been given to what the legislation means for businesses — and not just businesses in healthcare-related industries. The 2010 Healthcare Reform Act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act1 or PPACA), in conjunction with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act2 (“Reconciliation Act”) contains significant tax and employee benefit changes. Many of these provisions are phased in over several years, so their full impact is yet to be felt. This article examines a few of the key provisions contained in this new legislation.

I. Tax Changes

The tax changes found in the new legislation focus on the universal health insurance coverage mandate and revenue raisers, some health-related and others not. Certain changes are expected to have the greatest impact.

A. Beginning in 2011

Beginning in 2011, a fee will be levied against drug manufacturers and importers based on market share. The total fee assessed for 2011 will be $2.5 billion and will gradually increase until it peaks in 2018 at $4.1 billion. In 2019, the fee will decrease to $2.8 billion and will remain constant thereafter.3

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