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.
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.