Archive for Saturday, July 11, 2009

House Democrats want to tax the rich for health care

July 11, 2009


— Key House Democrats decided Friday to raise taxes on the wealthy to help pay for health care legislation, capping an up-and-down week for President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

At the same time, Democratic leaders tried to quell concerns among moderate and conservative lawmakers about other elements of the bill.

“We’re closer to that significant reform than at any time in recent history. That doesn’t make it easy. It’s hard,” Obama said while traveling overseas.

Democrats on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee agreed to a new surtax that would start with households making $350,000 a year and begin in 2011, said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

It would raise some $540 billion over 10 years, about half the cost of Obama’s ambitious plan to reshape the nation’s health care system and provide care to the 50 million uninsured. However, lawmakers could not provide an exact price tag of the overall bill.

The proposal faces an uncertain reception in the Senate and from moderate and conservative Democrats in the House, who rebelled Thursday over various aspects — including costs — of the plan.

Democratic leaders spent hours Friday trying to soothe those concerns without reaching resolution, even as Rangel’s panel met to come up with the payment proposal.

Obama acknowledged obstacles to the legislative timetable but said failure to meet a self-imposed August deadline for moving bills through the House and Senate didn’t doom the endeavor.

“I never believe anything is do-or-die,” the president said at a news conference in Italy. “But I really want to get it done by the August recess.”

Rangel said the new surtax would be graduated, starting with households at $350,000 and then rising at $500,000 and again at $1 million. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid would raise about $500 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Fees paid by companies who don’t provide insurance to their employees would push the amount of the bill even higher.

“Instead of putting pieces of different revenue raisers together the best we can do is a graduated surtax,” Rangel said.

Rangel didn’t describe details, but one official said the surtax would apply to individuals with adjusted gross incomes over $280,000 a year, and couples over $350,000. A senior House aide said the surtax would be 1 percent for the first group of high earners, those households making $350,000 or more. The levels for the other two groups, those above $500,000 and $1 million in annual income are still being determined, said the aide.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

House Democrats had hoped to release a final bill Friday, but that was before a group of moderates and conservatives, known as Blue Dog Democrats, voiced their objections. House leaders are now promising a bill Monday with committee votes later in the week.

The Blue Dogs want a greater focus on cost containment within the health care system, such as reducing overpayments. They are also concerned about impact on small businesses and disparities in care in rural areas.

Blue Dog members said Friday that House Democratic leaders were beginning to hear their concerns but that more attention was needed.

“Addressed? Obviously we’ll wait and see,” Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., said after meeting with House leaders.

Several Blue Dog members voiced concerns about new taxes, and it’s unclear whether the Senate would go along with the House on a tax on high earners. Republican senators have said revenues for health overhaul should be related to health care in some way.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

The insurance industry,soooooo many republicans and too damn many democrats want to force employers and or tax too many others to pay for health care. Believe me republicans are not saints on this issue... they are as deep in special interest money as anyone. AND plenty of them are shareholders let's not kid ourselves.

High dollar medical insurance spending on what 1,500 health insurers add to the actual cost of providing care: • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders ! are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes * Politicians as shareholders:

Current White Collar Crime: Medicare Fraud Indictments

Senate Report Finds Insurers Wrongfully Charged Consumers Billions

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

10 Reasons to Support U.S. National Health Insurance Act

Written by Andrea Miller
Tuesday, 03 March 2009

Here are 10 great reasons to support HR 676, the U.S. National Health Insurance Act:

  1. Everybody In, Nobody Out. Universal means access to health care for everyone, period.

  2. Portability. If you are unemployed, or lose or change jobs, your health coverage stays with you.

  3. Uniform Benefits. No Cadillac plans for the wealthy and Pinto plans for everyone else, with high deductibles, limited services, caps on payments for care, and no protection in the event of a catastrophe. One level of comprehensive care for everyone, regardless of the size of your wallet.

  4. Prevention. By removing financial roadblocks, a universal health system encourages preventive care that lowers an individual's ultimate cost and pain and suffering when problems are neglected and societal cost in the over-utilization of emergency rooms or the spread of communicable diseases.

  5. Choice. Most private insurance restricts your choice of providers and hospitals. Under the U.S. National Health Insurance Act, patients have a choice, and the provider is assured a fair payment.

  6. No Interference with Care. Caregivers and patients regain their autonomy to decide what's best for a patient's health, not what's dictated by the billing department. No denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions or cancellation of policies for "unreported" minor health problems.

  7. Reducing Waste. One third of every private health insurance dollar goes for paperwork and profits, compared to about 3% under Medicare, the federal government’s universal system for senior citizen healthcare.

  8. Cost Savings. A guaranteed health care system can produce the cost savings needed to cover everyone, largely by using existing resources without the waste. Taiwan, shifting from a U.S. private health care model, adopted a similar system in 1995, boosting health coverage from 57% to 97% with little increase in overall health care spending.

  9. Common Sense Budgeting. The public system sets fair reimbursements applied equally to all providers, private and public, while assuring that appropriate health care is delivered, and uses its clout to negotiate volume discounts for prescription drugs and medical equipment.

  10. Public Oversight. The public sets the policies and administers the system, not high priced CEOs meeting in private and making decisions based on their company’s stock performance needs.

igby 8 years, 9 months ago

I can hear the the band playing the Dems new exit and farewell tune. Since they will soon be crippled in the 2010 election and Obama, will be a lame duck president for two years afterward-too the bitter end of 2012.

Where are all these dems going to work?

They can't all grow pot for a living like they do here in Lawrence and in Cali.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 9 months ago

In the headline, the word "rich" should be replaced with "everybody".

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

igby (Anonymous) says

"Where are all these dems going to work?

They can't all grow pot for a living like they do here in Lawrence and in Cali."

Now that was funny. Thanks for the laugh, I needed that.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 9 months ago

"TUPELO - A health care rally drew only four people to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker's office Thursday. Sponsored by MoveOn, a national public policy advocacy organization, the rally was intended to support expanded health care for the poor. Organizer James Hull said 100 e-mail invitations were sent but wasn't surprised by the turnout. Hull said the location had nothing to do with Wicker personally. "It is not a protest for or against him," Hull said. "It's from his desk that this dialogue will have to proceed." "

Flap Doodle 8 years, 9 months ago

Speaking of the O'dude and the economy, "Now that 6 months have passed since Obama's "stimulus plan" has passed, I thought it useful to examine the stock market reaction to Obama's plan and compare it to the reaction of President Bush's 2003 stimulus plan. Bush's plan passed in April 2003 while Obama's passed in February 2009. I chose the S&P 500 Index starting point one month prior to passage because the market typically discounts the information beforehand as the bills work their way through Congress. I chose 6 months-post passage as the ending point because that's all the data we have for Obama's plan so far. Bush: From March 2003 to October 2003, the S&P 500 went from 835 to 1034 or +23.8%. Obama: From January 2009 through July 2009, the S&P went from 932 to 879 or -5.2%."

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