Health Care Bill a Prescription for Higher Taxes

The health care bill is beginning to look like a bonanza of new taxes and fees. Here is a summary from Politico:

— Broaden the 1.45-percent Medicare tax on earned income to “passive income,” which could include money from capital gains, rental properties and businesses that do not require direct participation. This could raise $100 billion.

— Levy a five-percent surtax on individuals who earn more than $500,000 and couples that make $1 million.

— Tax health benefits at a higher level than had been considered. Two scenarios are in play. Taxing plans worth more than $20,300 for a family and $8,300 for an individual could raise $240 billion. Increasing the cut-off to plans worth more than $25,000 would bring $90 billion.

— Capping the tax break on itemized deductions at 28 percent, as President Barack Obama had proposed, or freezing the top deduction rate at 35 percent when the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010. The first scenario would raise $168 billion, while the second would collect $90 billion.

— Issue tax credit bonds to pay for the proposed Medicaid expansion, raising $75 billion.

— Charge fees to pharmaceutical manufacturers, bringing in as much as $20 billion, and insurance providers, raising $75 billion.

– Raise taxes on sodas and sugary drinks. A 3-cent hike could pick up $30 billion, and a 10-cent hike could make $100 billion. This one already appears out of favor: Many senators have specifically ruled out the sugar tax, and a Senate Democratic source said it was the one option that was clearly not gaining traction with committee members.

And that’s not even all of them. The Washington Post reports that the bill imposes a tax on medical devices, intended to raise $40 billion over a decade. Industry sources warn the tax could hamper innovation. Overall, the bill will create over $400 billion in new taxes and fees, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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