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Archive for Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sen. Pat Roberts says health care reform bill will raise taxes for middle-class Americans

December 10, 2009

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U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the proposed health care reform bill would raise taxes on middle-class Americans.

“Even though the majority has tried to disguise these taxes as various fees and present them as being paid for by targeted health care industries, the reality is that this bill taxes the average American coming and going,” Roberts said on the Senate floor.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts

In a press release sent today — Thursday, Dec. 10, Roberts said the bill calls for nearly $500 billion in new taxes, penalties and fees that hit virtually every American, including middle class families making less than $250,000 and individuals earning less than $200,000.

Under this bill, he said, for every one individual or family that benefits from the government subsidy to purchase health insurance, this bill raises taxes on three middle-income individuals and families.

Roberts is a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He is co-chairman of the Senate Rural Health Caucus. 

Roberts cited the following examples of tax increases in the bill: 

• Forty percent excise tax on health insurance providers that offer high cost health insurance plans. This provision raises $149 billion in taxes and will be paid for in large part through higher income and payroll taxes. By the time this bill is fully implemented, 84 percent of this tax on “high cost plans” will be paid by Americans who earn less than $200,000.

• New taxes on health insurance providers and medical device manufacturers. According to both the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation these taxes will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher insurance premiums. The new $60 billion tax on health insurance providers alone could raise premiums by as much as 2 percent as early as next year. The $19.3 billion in new taxes on medical devices could increase costs for up to 80,000 medical products such as heart stints, blood pressure monitors, eyeglasses, pacemakers, hearing aids, and advanced diagnostic equipment.

• The floor for deducting medical expenses from income tax is raised from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of adjusted gross income. Those who take this deduction are most often seniors and those with serious or catastrophic medical issues.

For a family of four earning $57,000 in 2013, raising the floor for the deduction means that they would lose a tax deduction of $1,425. A family of four earning $92,000 would lose a tax deduction of $2,300.

• Raises taxes for the more than 35 million Americans who participate in Flexible Spending Accounts, or FSAs. For the first time, the government caps the amount a FSA participant can set aside to pay for health care expenses at $2,500. The typical worker who contributes more than $2,500 to their FSA has a serious medical condition. This means that under this bill, workers with serious illness and earning an average of $55,000 will be paying more in taxes.

Comments

beawolf 4 years, 11 months ago

Like we should believe anything Roberts says.

" “From Kansas City to Manhattan, I have secured investments to bring high-paying jobs and research to Kansas,” Senator Roberts said. “These projects reflect my focus on the Kansas economy and education. As Senator, I’m putting more jobs on the map.”

We are still waiting Senator.

Richard Payton 4 years, 11 months ago

I want the same health plan as Senator Roberts. Will they offer that to the middle class? No! Why not I ask, shouldn't every citizen be offered the same plan as Senate and Congress receive. If are leaders can't offer us the same health plan they feel entitled to then I say it's time for taxpayers to quit offering health care to our Senator's and Congressman on our time and money. Just dreaming today!

frank mcguinness 4 years, 11 months ago

This from the same guy who thinks its ok for our government to give contacts to companies who tell rape victims they can't go to court.

I see his reign coming to an end.

douglas6280 4 years, 11 months ago

Senator Roberts is wrong -- the health care takeover will cost all Americans who actually work and pay taxes not just the middle class.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 11 months ago

More fear-mongering from Wrong-way Roberts.

My taxes pay for Wrong way's health care plan.

smarty_pants 4 years, 11 months ago

Would someone please tell Pat Roberts to STFU!

bendover61 4 years, 11 months ago

Why would our taxes go up? It's just another $1Trillion package.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 11 months ago

So the huge increases in my health care premiums and other health care expenses every year is not called a tax.

I get it now. If it is called a tax it is bad. If it is called more profits for the health care industry it is called good.

The option they want you to choose...bend over. Take it like a man.

If a broken system does not get fixed it is called politics. Pat Brown stays focused on beating the snot out of the Democrat plan so we can stay with the status quo.

Screwed as usual.

feeble 4 years, 11 months ago

FYI, there's no reporting in this piece. The "reporter" just reposted a blog post from Roberts' own website: http://roberts.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=e45cfa4f-9a71-4dd1-80ea-3ed68eb6bfdb

It would be nice if the LJWorld would indicate when they just republish someone else's talking points and when they actually do original reporting.

LoveThsLife 4 years, 11 months ago

"Senator Roberts is wrong — the health care takeover will cost all Americans who actually work and pay taxes not just the middle class."

True Douglas..that is why I hate the reform they are trying to accomplish...way too expensive and it won't be very effective.

malehrman 4 years, 11 months ago

Is this just a reprinting of the press release? Or was there verification of the claims?

feeble 4 years, 11 months ago

the latter, all the text from the bullet points down is straight out of the press release.

ralphralph 4 years, 11 months ago

Which plan to choose, which plan to choose ...

Basic Health Care Plan = people who won't work can go to the best doctors whenever they want, and it's all free, forever and ever.

Enhanced Health Care Plan = people who won't work can go to the best doctors whenever they want, and it's all free, forever and ever, AND they get to ride to the doctor's office on a magic pony.

frank mcguinness 4 years, 11 months ago

Hey Ralph Ralph,
How about the plan my pregnant friend has that just dropped her for no reason.

And is it "won't work" or "can't work" I'd bet statistically the numbers are due to the latter.

But I hope you get to ride on the head of a magic unicorn.

George Lippencott 4 years, 11 months ago

Absolutely! Unfortunately, the increase will be buried in the increase to cover the massive debt we have run up!

I expect it will also cause an increase in the cost for my insurance

I wonder if we will really increase taxes on the wealthy? Why is our progressive tax system flat from $200K on?

Phillbert 4 years, 11 months ago

I guess I can cancel my subscription to the LJW if all they're going to do is reprint Republican press releases verbatim. If I want to be lied to, I'll just get it directly from the source.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

Would it be too much to ask for Karrey Britt to indicate that this is strictly cut and paste from the Senator's website?

This obviously wasn't intended as news. What an embarrassment for this website and for this paper.

Is there no editorial discretion before this type of thing is posted as legitimate news? How many other news releases and blog posts can we expect to have foisted on us under the false banner of journalism?

gccs14r 4 years, 11 months ago

Besides, if my taxes go up, but I no longer have to buy health insurance because healthcare is paid for by the government, then am I really out any more money?

Karrey Britt 4 years, 11 months ago

It is straight from the press release that was sent to me. I posted it because I am not sure how many of our readers check on the Senator's Web site for the latest on health care reform. On a daily basis, I talk to people who have lousy health care, so they care a great deal about what is happening in Washington, D.C.

gccs14r 4 years, 11 months ago

If I want the latest on health care reform, the last person I'm going to ask is a Republican Senator from Kansas.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

Tell you what, Pilgrim - the next time I see any and all press releases from your group published on the Lawrence Journal World as if they were legitimate news, I will make the same complaint.

Sounds like I have a point and I am glad you agree that this posting is ridiculous.

whynaut 4 years, 11 months ago

There's nothing wrong with reposting a press release. Especially when the reporter precludes said release with the statement: "In a press release sent today..." (In other news: outspoken people with too much time on their hands lambast a journalist for doing her job).

George Lippencott 4 years, 11 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

I am so glad I am going to buy your insurance, pay higher taxes, pay more for my supplement,see my Medicare rationed and my promised health care for muilitary service reduced to uselessness.. Not everybody is a winner. Over 60% of us do not like what is happening!

Corey Williams 4 years, 11 months ago

D*mnit Barry! Why haven't you posted your inane drivel on this story yet? I am thoroughly disappointed that you have yet to post any of your swill on this thread. All you have left me with is reading the insubstantial posts from Pilgrim2 (not affiliated with Pilgrim1). Although they do match your lack of substance, they are no replacement for your bizarre and senseless rant haikus that you spend your seemingly endless spare time writing.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

Pilgrim2 makes the dining room table look intelligent.

Well done, and thank you for demonstrating the utter frivolity of ever attempting to throw you a bone.

My point remains that I agree with your post - a verbatim cut and paste of a news release from the group you listed would be just as ridiculous.

notajayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

malehrman (Matt Lehrman) says…

"Is this just a reprinting of the press release? Or was there verification of the claims?"

Hey, malehrman, and the rest of you whiny sheep - how about you try verifying it for yourself? This is part of the problem, that you sheeple all line up to get another helping of pabalum spoon-fed to you - you don't have the capacity for independent thought, let alone research and analysis, so you leave it up to the media to tell you what's 'true.'

Um - how many of you were clamoring for the LJW or any of the other fine news outlets you bow to to verify anything put out by the weasel-in-chief's press secretary?

It has been so amusing watching you all whine for the past year or so how the Republicans aren't offering any alternatives to the Democrats' plan, and what's filling up this thread? "Like we should believe anything Roberts says." "Would someone please tell Pat Roberts to STFU!" "I guess I can cancel my subscription to the LJW if all they're going to do is reprint Republican press releases verbatim. If I want to be lied to, I'll just get it directly from the source." "If I want the latest on health care reform, the last person I'm going to ask is a Republican Senator from Kansas."

What a bunch of whiny, two-faced sheep - if a Republican speaks you automatically tune it out, then accuse them of not saying anything.

I almost wish the Obama/Reid/Pelosi monstrosity would pass, and you all had to live (correction - all had to die) with it. You sheeple really do deserve just what you're asking for.

gccs14r 4 years, 11 months ago

I think most of the 60% who don't like it don't think it goes far enough. Washington needs to quit screwing around and make a true single-payer system for all of us. Let the insurance companies knock themselves out selling supplemental coverage to people who want same-day service for a hangnail. The only reason I'm going along for the ride is because it's better to implement a flawed system while the opportunity exists than it is to wait for someone to enact a "perfect" system. Funding and service problems can be fixed later, but it's 50 years past time to get a public system in place.

George Lippencott 4 years, 11 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

Glad you think so.
I have no idea what the 60% thinks-impressed that you do.

The subject of a single payer system is too big for me. Ask Merrill

notajayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

barrypenders (Anonymous) says…

"The fun part will be finding Doctors and Nurses to service the extra 30,000,000 patients."

That will work for Medicare rates.


gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

"I think most of the 60% who don't like it don't think it goes far enough. "

There is a segment of that 60% who, as you said, wanted more, even a few who wanted single-payer.But the polls I've seen say that's a small part of the objecters.

You have hit on another part of the problem, though. It is impossible to make everybody happy with a 2,000+ piece of legislation that tries to do everything at once. They should have tried to enact small changes targeted at changing specific parts of the problem (e.g. access to healthcare for those with pre-existing conditions). There would have been a couple of benefits to this approach. First, we wouldn't have the situation you described - a majority of the populace rejects the current proposal, but nobody knows how many object to the individual pieces. And if you're in any way familiar with scientific experimentation, you know you don't try to change all the variables at once, because if it works, or doesn't work, you don't know why.

George Lippencott 4 years, 11 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says…

Give that man a dime!!

pace 4 years, 11 months ago

It looks like it might raise taxes for middle income people, but will reduce the cost of health care coverage and increase access for middle income people. I hope it will increase health care access for middle and low income. Robert's plan to sit on reform to protect the Health Corporation profits sure wasn't working for working families.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

What is the weasel in chief?

Nice to see the partisan hacks coming in to defend the spreading of propaganda.

Well played.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

http://democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=320701&

This is the news release put out by the Senate Democrats today.

Yet here at LJWorld.com, you will see only a story by the Associated Press.

Why the inconsistency?

staff04 4 years, 11 months ago

Remember when the bill was too long for the Republicans to read? Now it isn't long enough:

What a bunch of clowns.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Changing nothing is increasing the taxes on all taxpayers except for the elite with loopholes.

The health care plans of Moran,Tihart,Brownback and Roberts cost we taxpayers plenty. 2010 will see a large increase to about $18,310 each. About a 25% increase.

Insuring only the elected officials cost taxpayers $11,000,000. National Health Insurance could reduce that cost to about $3,000,000.

Is protecting the most expensive medical insurance in the world good for business? No it is anti business and anti new jobs and anti industry.

Is protecting the most expensive medical insurance in the world good for keeping the cost of of just about everything we buy in reasonable check? Absolutely not it increases our cost of living across the board just like high dollar gasoline.

Did we elect people to office to protect the most expensive medical insurance in the world from a more reasonable and fiscally responsible insurance program? No way jose' That is corrupt.

Did we send elected officials to Washington to accept special interest campaign money from the most expensive medical insurance program in the world? Heck NO that increases the cost of insurance!

notajayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"Why the inconsistency?"

Maybe because the Democrats are full of **it, and trying to sell a dead horse? Just a guess.

Gee, Bobbie, isn't it funny how the other guys are always the partisan hacks. True believers like your esteemed self are always being objective, right?

Also, as usual, Bobbie, I notice you didn't have an answer for my actual comment.

TopJayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

And Harry Greed has entered a bill that will exempt not only legislators from any of this, but also all of their aides,. Sounds like a great plan to me. Don't blame Roberts for their health care. Blame Greed and San Fran Nan for this travesty.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

The $18,310 2010 cost for medical insurance came across my email being quoted from pay a stub announcement explaining cost increases. Luckily this person will pay only $3200 meaning his employer is picking up the rest. However he was no less stunned at the super duper increase of medical insurance. Is it any wonder why business people want out of the responsibility?

Employers willing to pick up the lions share of the cost for Cadillac plans are likely thinning out. OUR elected officials do have Cadillac tastes. One can safely expect the cost of insuring government employees across the USA for 2010 to come in at much higher than $1.2 trillion taxpayer dollars which represents about 60% of those insured. That is one whopping gravy train for the medical insurance industry.

It is my assertion that anyone with less than a cadillac plan is under insured when cancer or MS strikes. Bankruptcy becomes a real concern.

Paying More, Getting Less How much is the sick U.S. health care system costing you? http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says…

Maybe because the Democrats are full of **it, and trying to sell a dead horse? Just a guess.

Now here's a victory for the free and open exchange of ideas and independence of the press. This is the kind of attitude that led to "fair and balanced".

So disappointing to see a couple of posters attempt to force their one sided views on the rest of the community.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

Pilgrim2 (Anonymous) says…

Didn't see the name(s) of any LOCAL Senators or Representatives in that release. Gee, you don't suppose that would have anything to do with the LJW's priorities, do you?

Interestingly enough, the same poster has this to say:

Pilgrim2 (Anonymous) says…

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

Is there no editorial discretion before this type of thing is posted as legitimate news? How many other news releases and blog posts can we expect to have foisted on us under the false banner of journalism?


As soon as you include any and all press releases from the White House, Dingy Harry, San Fran Nan, Chuckie Shumer, Henry Waxman, Dennis Moore, and the rest of the looney left, you may have a point. Until then…

This is the type of consistency you get when you attempt to engage a dining room table.

seriouscat 4 years, 11 months ago

Roberts aside, the bill that is being debated in the Senate is a monstrosity. I hope everyone is taking the time to look at it for themselves and taking the time to tell their reps what they think! It's gone from an argument over what we should do to one over what we shouldn't do.

feeble 4 years, 11 months ago

barrypenders (Anonymous) says…

I worked at Tripler and sick call was used by people to get out of assignments that they didn't want to perform. Many females would get pregnant and utilize the free healthcare to become “non-deployables”.

woman-hater, coward and a clown, thanks for showing your true colors barry. And conservatives wonder why no one takes them seriously on "family values" any more.

notajayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"This is the kind of attitude that led to “fair and balanced”."

"So disappointing to see a couple of posters attempt to force their one sided views on the rest of the community."

When are you going to stop then, Bobbie? You DO know it's YOU in the minority on this issue when you get outside the Larryville city limits, don't you? It's the minority kool-aid drinkers like you that are trying to foist the bills for your massive sense of entitlement that's the problem, Bobbie.

And again I notice you didn't address a single point in my comment while you were engaging in the "free and open exchange of ideas." But then, to you, "free and open" only means if it agrees with YOUR standpoint. Again, it's always the other guys who are biased, right, Bobbie?

S'amatter, Bobbie - the weasel-in-chief's economic 'stimulus' not enough to keep you on the government payroll any more?

Godot 4 years, 11 months ago

Unions Pressure Democrats on Health Insurance Tax Associated Press Erica Werner December 11, 2009

Union leaders, among the most passionate backers of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, pressed Democratic senators Thursday to drop a tax on high-value insurance plans to pay for remaking the nation's system.

As the Senate entered its 11th straight day of debate on the sweeping legislation, members of several labor unions denounced the proposed tax on so-called "Cadillac plans," arguing it wouldn't just hit CEOs but also middle-class Americans who did without salary increases to negotiate better health benefits.

"I support health care reform but I can't afford this tax," Valerie Castle Stanley, an AT&T call center worker and member of the Communications Workers of America, said at a news conference outside the Capitol. "For families like mine that are on a budget, the results will be devastating."

At issue is a proposed 40 percent excise tax on insurance companies, keyed to premiums paid on health care plans costing more than $8,500 annually for individuals and $23,000 for families. The tax would raise some $150 billion over 10 years to help pay for the Democrats' nearly $1 trillion health care bill. The legislation, which appears to be edging closer to passage, would revamp the U.S. health care system with new requirements on individuals and employers designed to extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

The threshold for insurance plans that would be taxed had been adjusted higher in response to union members' concerns, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a leader of those efforts, has said there could be further changes. But labor organizations including the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO and the National Education Association are urging the Senate to drop the tax entirely and take the approach embraced by the House, which would raise income taxes on individuals making more than $500,000 a year and couples making more than $1 million."

What?? Union leaders are complaining about healthcare reform? How obstructionist, how non-progressive, how unpatriotic can they be??????

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says… Again, it's always the other guys who are biased, right, Bobbie?

S'amatter, Bobbie - the weasel-in-chief's economic 'stimulus' not enough to keep you on the government payroll any more?

It is hardly an objective opinion to cite a poster who uses "weasel in chief" as biased.

And you are without a doubt the most biased poster who sullies the good reporting and news gathering of the LJ World. It must be difficult to get actual "fair and balanced" information through your proverbial tin foil hat.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

The increase on medical insurance for 2010 is a tax increase even though nothing has changed. Guess those pesky republicans from NO party are pretending it is not a tax increase.

GOPConservative 4 years, 11 months ago

I'd rather see companies and individuals who choose to opt pay more taxes than have my premiums keep increasing to cover emergency room care for those who don't have insurance.

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