April 18, 2019 – The Missouri Senate yesterday took up SB 29, a bill sponsored by Sen. Dan Hegeman, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Sen. Hegeman, a Republican, also serves in one of the top leadership posts in the Republican-controlled Senate as Chairman of the Senate Majority Caucus. In an effort to increase money for Medicaid, Sen. Hegeman added an amendment to his bill that establishes a new tax on HMO’s.
The tax that would be paid by employers and/or employees using an HMO, would be $1.80 per covered person per month, $21.60 per covered person per year. For an employer with 200 employees and dependents covered under their HMO plan, the tax would be $4,320 per year! The taxpayers paying the tax would receive no benefit from it.
Associated Industries of Missouri is leading the charge against this ill-conceived tax. And several courageous senators are standing up for their constituents against this bad idea.
Senator Bill Eigel and Senator Denny Hoskins serve on the Appropriations Committee and voted against the tax. When the bill was brought to the floor yesterday, both of them, along with Senator Bob Onder, worked against the tax. At one point, Sen. Hoskins read AIM’s original article about the tax aloud on the Senate floor. It was also mentioned several times that Associated Industries of Missouri opposes the tax. AIM issued a legislative alert to all senators letting them know of our opposition and we understand that email was also circulated to senators at their desks on the Senate floor. There can be no confusion about our stance against this tax.
About Wednesday’s debate on the bill, Senator Onder said, “Two of my most important promises to my constituents when I ran for Senate were to fight the rising costs of health care for businesses and their employees, and to oppose tax increases. So when a new health insurance tax was proposed by my own party, I was obligated to oppose it, regardless of political cost. I was successful on Wednesday. But it may come back. So all business owners need to contact their senators to oppose this wrong-headed health insurance tax.”
Senator Onder also sat down with Ray McCarty to discuss the bill in this video.
AIM is strongly opposed to this tax. We support the underlying bill and are hoping to strip the bad HMO tax from the bill and we thank all the senators that helped stop this tax, at least for now: Senators Onder, Eigel, Hoskins, O’Laughlin and Burlison.