Monday, February 22, 2010

Obama's Health Plan Adds $75 Billion to Senate Bill

From the Wall Street Journal:
President Barack Obama's health plan adds about $75 billion to the 10-year cost of the Senate health-overhaul bill, and includes new taxes to offset revenue lost by slimming down a tax on high-value insurance plans.

The bill passed by the the Senate on Dec. 24 would cost $871 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Mr. Obama's plan would cost about $950 billion over that period, the White House said. ..

To pay for the increased spending, the proposal would make deeper cuts to Medicare Advantage, a program under which some seniors get their Medicare benefit through private insurers. Also, Mr. Obama would increase the fees for companies and individuals who don't comply with the mandates in the bill. Employers who fail to offer coverage would pay a fine of $2,000 per employee, up from $750 per employee. Small employers are exempt from the fine.

Wealthy taxpayers would have to pay Medicare taxes on unearned income such as interest and dividends under the president's plan. Currently, Medicare taxes only apply to earned income. The Medicare tax on unearned income would apply to joint filers making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $200,000 a year.

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