The Obamacare-Triggered State Tax Hikes of 2015
The most recent issue of BusinessWeek features an article about how states are preparing to implement the changes of Obamacare. Besides the predictable problems – delays, computer systems that can’t sync, reaching people who are in good health who don’t want to purchase insurance — there’s the question of how states will fund the “health benefit exchanges,” a menu of insurance plans for the currently uninsured.
Maryland expects the federal government to fund the exchange through 2014. After that, they’re supposed to cover their own costs—for Maryland, about $40 million a year. The exchange board has until Dec. 1 to come up with a financing plan. [Anthony] Brown, Maryland’s lieutenant governor, gingerly hints at one way to pay for it: “[Even if] I don’t have children … I pay taxes that support public education.”
So… in addition to all of the other joys of Obamacare — the mandate, the IPAB panel deciding which lifesaving treatments are too expensive, the increase in premiums, the doctors quitting in frustration — we can add state tax increases coming in 2015. This is separate from the costs imposed on states by Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, and any state tax increases that are enacted as a result of that aspect of the president’s signature domestic policy legislation.