(Bloomberg) — Republicans are looking at capping a health insurance tax exclusion used by employers that’s worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year, as a way to pay for changes to the U.S. health care system, four members of Congress said Thursday after a party meeting on Capitol Hill.
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The proposal, still under development, would limit the amount U.S. employers can exclude from workers’ taxes for the health insurance benefits they provide. Excluding premiums from taxes was worth about $250 billion in foregone tax revenue in 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Some health economists have argued that the exemption artificially drives up health spending.
The proposal is on “a menu of pay-fors” Republicans are considering as they debate changes to the Affordable Care Act and how to fund them, Rep. Bill Flores, a Republican from Texas, said after a gathering of House Republicans in Washington on Thursday. The proposal was also described by House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, of Texas, Peter King of New York, and Pat Tiberi of Ohio.
“No decision’s been made, we’re really looking at a whole range of options,” Brady said in an interview after the meeting.