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Johnson Open To Keeping Some Obamacare Taxes

Senator Says If Lawmakers Want To Keep Some ACA Benefits, They Should Pay For Them

Ron Johnson
Steve Helber/AP Photo

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says he would be open to keeping some Affordable Care Act taxes in place as part of the GOP overhaul of the Obama-era health care law.

“We’re actually taking a serious look at this,” Johnson told constituents in a telephone town hall Wednesday night. “I’m personally not opposed to retaining the taxes to pay for the expense.”

The health care bill passed earlier this year by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives cut a variety of taxes passed by Democrats to help pay for the ACA.

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Johnson said that if Republican senators were going to keep some of Obamacare’s subsidies, they ought to fund them to prevent the growth of budget deficits.

“I’m highly concerned about $20 trillion in debt and $129 trillion of accumulated additional deficits over the next 30 years that would completely mortgage our childrens’ future,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the taxes most likely to remain on the books include a net investment tax and a tax increase on Medicare for wealthier people.

“The other ones we’re looking at to still repeal would be the ones that actually affect the price of premiums, the price of health care,” Johnson said.

As he has previously, Johnson continued to push for the repeal of Obamacare rules requiring insurance companies to cover people regardless of whether they have pre-existing conditions.

Johnson said those protections were responsible for driving up health care premiums.

“The way you bring those premiums down is recognize what caused those premiums to increase, and it’s really all those market reforms,” Johnson said. “And I know they’re all popular, which is why we’re not addressing them because people don’t have the courage to do so.”

Johnson said he was working on an amendment to repeal those rules.