Obama Is Pressed to Tax Health Benefits

The White House is caught in a battle within its own party over how to finance a comprehensive overhaul of America’s health-care system, as key Democrats advocate a tax plan that could require President Obama to break his campaign pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class.

Sensitive to voter anxiety about a soaring federal deficit, Obama and congressional leaders have vowed to pay for a sweeping expansion of the health-care system — expected to cost more than $1 trillion over the next decade — without additional borrowing.

Much of the money is likely to come from reining in spending on federal health programs for the elderly and the poor. Obama has proposed trimming more than $600 billion from Medicare and Medicaid by 2019 — including more than $300 billion in cuts unveiled in his Saturday radio and Internet address — which could fulfill the promise to curb the growth of federal health spending.

The rest of the cash will probably come from new taxes.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Taxes

17 comments on “Obama Is Pressed to Tax Health Benefits

  1. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Obama has already broken his promise numerous times! What do you think Cap & Tax is going to do? Taxing company supplied cell-phone use? Taxing health insurance benefits?

  2. Br. Michael says:

    Agreed, but he has to do it in such away as to deny it.

  3. Jeffersonian says:

    If you let people keep their money, there’s a chance they won’t go along with the Master Plan, preferring to purchase things that better meet their needs instead of the procrustean bed of the government program. Can’t have that, can we?

    I’ve finally discovered one thing that Obama and I have in common: We both want to run my life.

  4. Sarah1 says:

    I can already see all the physicians feverishly writing their “Dear Medicare Patient” letters to their now former patients.

    And then the resulting letters to the editors about why on earth there aren’t any doctors out there who accept new Medicare patients — with no recognition at all about why that may be.

  5. Katherine says:

    And that’s what worries me, Sarah, since in five years I shall be forced to be on Medicare, and it’s why I am strongly of the “fix Medicare first” opinion.

  6. Jeffersonian says:

    But Katherine, they can’t fix Medicare until they have total control over all medical goods and services. But wait…don’t those goods and services have inputs external to the healthcare industry itself: universities, medical schools, consultants, builders, accountants, janitors, IT firms, etc? Shouldn’t logically, we put the entire economy under the firm, steady hand of the State so costs can be controlled even better?

  7. William P. Sulik says:

    No, Obama promised if I voted for McCain, I would end up paying a tax on my health benefits. I didn’t realize that was a threat when I voted for McCain…

    [blockquote] Now, Sen. McCain has a different kind of approach. He says that he’s going to give you a $5,000 tax credit. What he doesn’t tell you is that he is going to tax your employer-based health care benefits for the first time ever.

    So what one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away.[/blockquote]

  8. Katherine says:

    How the heck are they going to trim $600 billion from Medicare/Medicaid? The perennial and never-realized “cut fraud and waste?” Seems to me the commercial insurance companies do a better job on spotting fraud than the government programs. What they’ll do instead is force me into their program and then cut care after I’m 75, because the program will be in meltdown by then.

  9. rlw6 says:

    Here is how they are going to save on Medicare / Medicaid, euthanize the most costly patients. Now that was easy, do you really want to know what will happen if you are found to be carrying a child with a potentially expensive birth defect, no birth.

  10. Daniel says:

    “rein in expenses” = ration healthcare to those who deserve it based on bureaucratic fiat.

    How about starting out to cut costs by denying healthcare benefits to anyone who is not legally in this country and paying taxes on their income. Get rid of anchor baby laws, institute a rigidly enforced guest worker program that does not automatically guarantee citizenship, and that would be a nice beginning to cutting health care costs.

  11. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    My father-in-law is a physician. After he retired a decade ago, it took [i]four years[/i] for the last of his Medicare and Medicaid payments to filtre in. [b]Fix Medicare first.[/b]

    My father-in-law would agree. He [url=http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/temetni_tudunk_-_the_hungarian_uprising_of_1956-print.html]fled the Hungarian Communists[/url] in the 1956 revolution and is decidedly unimpressed with assorted efforts to nationalise health care in the USA.

    Prove you can make Medicare work — or the VA, or Indian Affairs hospitals — and only then talk to me about what you’ll do for the whole system.

  12. BillB says:

    One of the probable means to rein in expenses will be to deny anything but pain relief to those they don’t consider worth keeping around: the aged, the infirm, the handicapped and similar. It won’t happen soon but probably government forced euthenasia for the non-ROI types. Hit 70, you’re no use, bye!

    Yes, there has been some rationing of health care due to personal economic situations throughout history. However, often, people have been helped in one way or another. Now it has the promise of being government enforced.

  13. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    The federal government will have to get in line behind our state. There is already a 20% “uncompensated health care assessment” here on top of the regular sales tax.

    For those of you cautioning that the government will achieve savings by having to “euthanize the most costly patients”…you do realize that the most costly patients in the system (if memory serves) are terminal HIV/AIDS patients. Wait till the Liberal Base understands what they are doing to themselves!

  14. In Texas says:

    I have a vested in this, since my wife has MS. Her health care costs are very high – even with a great health plan, we pay anywhere from $5K to 8K per year in co-pays/deductibles. Her biggest quality of life issue is pain from severe muscle spams- which is partially relieved by very expensive botox shots (3.5 vials) every 90 days. It would be cheaper to have go back on multiple pain meds and stay in bed 75% of the time being either drugged up and/or in so much pain she can’t get out of bed. I’m sure this would be one of the first things cut – oh, in England, under their national health care system, her 3x per week interferon shots (at $200 per shot) are not covered as well.

    I’m sure they would cover the $200 in pills for an assisted suicide, like they do in Oregon. National health care from the government means rationed health care.

  15. Chris says:

    “It’s hard to know whether President Obama’s health-care ‘reform’ is naive, hypocritical or simply dishonest. Probably all three. The president keeps saying it’s imperative to control runaway health spending. He’s right. The trouble is that what’s being promoted as health-care ‘reform’ almost certainly won’t suppress spending and, quite probably, will do the opposite.”

    read it all:

  16. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Let’s ask why we have “runaway health spending”?
    What if auto repair was handled by your insurance company? Would care what it costs to fix your engine, change a tire? Accident damage is typically covered by insurance…..do you ever check into those costs?
    We have disconnected health care costs from the people getting the care. Human nature says we will consume all we can of something that is “free”.
    Go back 60 years when we all paid for what we got. It looked more like auto repair…..You paid and you got the prices before you handed over the cash.

  17. Dave B says:

    Mal practice suites have caused Docs to practice defensive medicne, no effort on tort reform. The other issue is the utter incompetence shown by this administration. Rushed throuth stimulus package or unemployment would reach 8%, well we are now at 9.5% and climbing with only 6% of the rapidly needed stimulus mony spent. I’ll close Gitmo, no plan etc. We payed Palau 200 million dollars to take 17 Gitmo detainees and no where to put the rest. We took Over GM and have a 31 year old law school drop out, Brian Deese, running the 60% US owner ship. Now these folks want to run health care in the US? I hope not!