Ohio lawmakers push extension of health tax credit

Issue of particular importance to retired United Steelworkers and Delphi salaried retirees.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Mar 10, 2014

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), members of the Senate Committee on Finance, along with U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Mike Turner (R-OH), have led a letter signed by 28 lawmakers to Congressional leaders pushing for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) to be extended, an issue of particular importance to retired United Steelworkers and Delphi salaried retirees struggling to maintain affordable healthcare.

The letter was also signed by Ohio Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Steve Stivers (R-OH).  It calls for the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee to attach the HCTC to any bill reported out of these committees.  The HCTC, which assists struggling Americans with their health bills, expired on January 1, 2014.

“Without the HCTC, which expired on January 1, 2014, these salaried retirees face financial hardship with up to 50 percent of their remaining pension going to fund their health care premiums,” the lawmakers wrote.  “Given the importance of the HCTC to these American families who have already lost so much, we urge that an extension of this valuable program be included in any bill reported out of your respective committees.”

This letter follows a December Finance Committee hearing where Brown and Portman introduced a bipartisan amendment to extend the HCTC for two years. After debate on the Brown-Portman amendment, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee committed to work toward extending the HCTC, which was the first such commitment from Senate leaders.

The HCTC is a vital tool for many Americans who have experienced job loss and receive Trade Adjustment Assistance or have had their defined benefit pension plans taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), such as thousands of Delphi salaried retirees in Ohio along with many retired United Steelworkers.  Often the HCTC serves as an important bridge for Americans until they become eligible for Medicare benefits.

When Delphi’s defined benefit pension plan was terminated, 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees lost up to 70 percent in benefits, including 5,000 Ohioans. Of the 5,000 Delphi salaried retirees and their families in Ohio, about 1,500 are in the Mahoning Valley, 2,000 are in the Dayton area, and a majority of the remaining 1,500 are in Columbus and Sandusky.

The full text of the letter is below.

March 10, 2014

Chairman Dave Camp                                                             Chairman Ron Wyden
Committee on Ways and Means                                             Committee on Finance
U.S. House of Representatives                                               U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                          Washington, D.C. 20510

Representative Sander Levin                                                  Senator Orrin Hatch
Ranking Member                                                                       Ranking Member
Committee on Ways and Means                                             Committee on Finance
U.S. House of Representatives                                               U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                          Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairmen Camp and Wyden and Ranking Members Levin and Hatch:

Thousands of families rely on the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), which helps some struggling American families pay their health bills.  These families include thousands of Delphi retirees whose pensions were terminated during the GM bankruptcy and subsequently turned over to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.  While the benefits of many Delphi retirees were restored, the 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees lost up to 70 percent of their pensions. Without the HCTC, which expired on January 1, 2014, these salaried retirees face financial hardship with up to 50 percent of their remaining pension going to fund their health care premiums.

Given the importance of the HCTC to these American families who have already lost so much, we urge that an extension of this valuable program be included in any bill reported out of your respective committees.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Comments

Contango

IMO, every American should pay for healthcare with either before tax or after-tax dollars.

Level the playing field.

Dr. Information

If this nation went to a standardized flat tax on everyone, many of our problems would be fixed.

Contango

Point:

Why should union members or individuals who have employer provided healthcare get preferential tax treatment, when those who buy healthcare ins. on the open mkt. (like the Obamacare exchanges) have to pay with after-tax dollars?

During the '08 Pres. campaign, Sen. McCain suggested taxing employer health benefits and was skewered for it.

Employer-based tax deductible health care ins. is one of the top federal tax expenditures:

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/t...

Level the playing field.

Dr. Information

I agree with your point. However, with the pansy state this nation is in it will never happen. Poor me, poor my situation, I need something for nothing, blame the rich, blame anyone who makes good money they got it illegally and need to give me some. Work? We don't use that word in our household.

jack langhals

Absolutely !

truckin

It's just another clear noticeable point our countries elite, political, ruling class believe.........join us or be squashed!