The Max Tax: Baucus Health Bill Is More of the Same
Nothing New Here
- Same Objectionable Features: A public plan
disguised as a co-op, individual and employer mandates, massive
federal regulation over insurance and benefits, and massive
Medicaid expansion--the Baucus bill has them all. These are the
same features plaguing the other bills in Congress and that
Americans have routinely dismissed for months.
Seven Fatal Flaws
- Middle Class Tax Hike: The Baucus bill would impose a
new sales tax on drugs and medical devices and a new federal excise
tax on insurance plans that exceed $8,000 for an individual and
$21,000 for a family. These taxes will ultimately be passed down to
the consumer, putting many middle class families on the receiving
end of a tax hike.
- An Individual Mandate: In 2013, almost everyone would be
required to purchase health insurance that complies with new
federal standards. Those making more than three times the poverty
level would face a tax penalty of $950 (maxing out at $3,800 per
family) and $750 (maxing out at $1,500 per family) for those below
300 percent poverty. This penalty could apply to individuals with
incomes as low as $10,831 a year.
- No Privacy: In order to enforce the tax penalty
provisions, the government would be forced to collect detailed
health insurance information on Americans, reducing patient privacy
and adding significant administrative costs to employers and
- A Pay-or-Play Employer Mandate: Employers with more than
50 employees that don't offer health coverage would have to pay a
penalty for each employee who qualifies for new federal subsidizes
under the bill. Inevitably, low-income workers will be hurt the
most as employers would simply downsize or cut wages.
- A Thinly Disguised Public Option: The Baucus bill
invites indefinite federal control of a "co-op" by providing an
unnecessary $6 billion in federal funding for startup loans and
grants and it gives broad latitude to the HHS Secretary to regulate
co-ops and promote them. The co-op created in this bill is
literally an acronym for a new government-run health plan.
- Medicaid Expansion: Under the Baucus bill, millions of
Americans would end up on Medicaid. The current Medicaid program is
unsustainable and poorly serves the needy and indigent now.
Taxpayers will pick up the new costs of Medicaid, and states will
have little flexibility for real reform.
- Medicare: The Baucus bill establishes value-based
purchasing, requiring compliance with government guidelines on the
delivery of medical services. Hospitals and physicians who don't
comply would get lower Medicare payments. This approach could bias
or compromise doctors' decisions and contradict U.S. law on the
federal interference in the practice of medicine.
- Time to Hit the Reset Button: The President needs to
lead by meeting with key leaders of both parties and seek
bipartisan reform around two key themes: 1) instead of a
one-size-fits-all federal solution, Congress should let the states
take the lead on reform, and 2) reform the tax treatment of health
insurance to give all taxpayers tax relief for purchasing private
insurance and extend assistance (through spending offsets) to
low-income families to purchase private insurance instead of
expanding government care.
For more information, please visit: http://FixHealthCarePolicy.com