Obama Health Care Plan is on the Web

Robert Waldmann

It’s alive

update: Igor Volsky provides a good summary of the proposal

As far as I can see the Snowe plan worst tax ever free rider provision to prevent employment of people who need jobs provision is included.

I believe I am the first person to publicly object to this proposal when the gang of six said that they were considering it.

Any company with 50 or more employees that does not offer coverage and whose employees access taxpayer supported health programs will be required to help offset the costs to the American taxpayer.

update 2: In comments Bruce Webb explains that the worst tax ever is almost certainly not included. It wasn’t in the Senate bill. The Senate bill has a free rider provision that sounds vaguely like the Snowe worst tax ever proposal, but doesn’t have the same perverse effects. The administration hasn’t released legislative language, but presumably didn’t reintroduce the strong perverse incentives.

The point is that Snowe wasn’t thinking precisely when she made her proposal and so can easily be convinced that something quite different is what she had in mind.

On the other hand she voted against cloture anyway, so I don’t see why the administration didn’t just go with the house approach which is better than the not the worst tax ever version of the free rider tax.

end update 2

There is a tax increase on the rich so that’s something

Broadened Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) Tax Base for High-Income Taxpayers
Under current law, workers who earn a salary pay a flat tax of 1.45 percent of their wages to support the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund, but those who have substantial unearned income do not, raising issues of fairness. The Act will include an additional 0.9 percentage point Hospital Insurance tax for households with incomes exceeding $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. In addition, it would add a 2.9 percent tax for such high-income households to unearned income including interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents (excluding income from active participation in S corporations).

In exchange the cadillac plan excise tax is reduced. It now starts at a higher level and there are corrections for plans which are well read it

Reformed Excise Tax on Insurance Companies
Beginning in 2018, the Act imposes an excise tax on insurance companies to help finance the tax credits and other portions of comprehensive health reform.

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The excise tax will only apply to premiums above $27,500 for families and $10,200 for singles in 2018 and would be adjusted at the consumer price index plus one thereafter.

The excise tax includes important new permanent reforms that will focus its impact on plans that provide the highest-cost benefits – not those that happen to cover the highest-cost workers. These include permanent adjustments based on age, gender and high-risk professions.

I’d say the financing is improved. It seems to be a genuine compromise between the House and Senate plans.

There is no hint of a public option.

I guess it’s OK. It’s very important that the changes not add to the deficit or they can’t be implemented by 50 Senators plus Biden. I’m angry about dumping the public option now that cloture is out of the question anyway, but I’m not surprised (leaks made this very clear).

I can’t quite believe that the worst tax ever version of the employer mandate is still in the bill. I hope I’m misinterpreting the very brief explanation.

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