SENATE HEALTH REFORM PLAN PRESCRIBES HEAVY TAX DOSE
December 3, 2009
Amid double-digit unemployment, a record $1.6 trillion federal deficit and a national debt projected to double in 10 years, the Senate voted to bring to the floor a health care overhaul that will kill jobs through its myriad tax increases, says Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute.
For starters, consider the $500 billion in explicit tax increases:
- One levy would take $15 billion from sick patients with high out-of-pocket medical expenses, including elderly and low-income patients.
- If you have a health savings account or flexible spending arrangement, there are taxes specific to those health plans, plus a third tax that would apply to all "consumer-directed" plans.
- Another levy would tax medical devices, and another would tax prescription drugs; those two taxes would increase health insurance premiums by about 1 percent, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
- There's another $60 billion tax that would drive health premiums higher still; if your premiums climb high enough, you'll become subject to a $149 billion tax on those with high health insurance premiums; yet many face high premiums simply because they have expensive medical needs, making this yet another tax on the sick.
- The legislation would increase the Medicare tax on wages above $200,000, yet divert the revenue toward new entitlement spending.
- And lest any corner of the health care sector go untaxed, the bill would even impose a 5 percent tax on cosmetic surgeries.
Yet those are just the explicit tax increases, says Cannon. There are trillions of dollars in hidden tax increases, too.
The Senate health care bill would impose massive tax increases on Day One and keep increasing your taxes well into the future. Let's hope the ensuing Senate debate exposes why job-killing tax increases are the wrong prescription for health care reform, says Cannon.
Source: Michael F. Cannon, "Senate health reform plan prescribes heavy tax dose," Omaha World-Herald, December 2, 2009.
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