WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation to be outlined next week in the Senate Finance Committee will likely include a new tax on workers with the costliest employer-provided health coverage, officials said Friday, but with implementation delayed until 2013 to minimize any political fallout.
Officials familiar with internal deliberations said the leading option under consideration by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the committee chairman, would mean higher taxes for workers whose family coverage costs $15,000 a year or more in premiums paid by employer and employee combined.
The provision could generate hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade to help pay the $1 trillion or more the Obama administration has estimated is necessary under its plan to extend health care to millions of Americans who lack it. Cuts in projected Medicare and Medicaid spending are expected to make up much of the rest.
Officials cautioned that details of the proposal could change in the days before Baucus unveils his long-awaited outline. The Finance Committee and several other panels are expected to draft legislation this month, and Democratic leaders have vowed to pass bills in both houses before Congress begins its annual August break. Their objective is to forge a final compromise this fall.
President Barack Obama campaigned against taxing health benefits in last year's campaign, attacking Republican Sen. John McCain in television advertising when McCain proposed it.
But now, Baucus has told reporters, the president appears open to the idea. Another Democratic senator who attended a recent meeting with Obama said the president did not object when the issue was raised, saying he preferred an alternative he outlined last winter. A 2013 effective date would allow Obama to run for re-election before its impact is felt.
Yeah. Doing good for the country without any thought of personal gain.
Anybody remember this one:
I can make a firm pledge, under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.--Barack Obama
I guess technically that creating an entirely new tax is not a tax increase, is it?
Yeah, we'll go with that.