Just in time for the Holidays, the Senate passed their version of healthcare reform.
Don’t spend that cash and those gift cards you receive for the Holidays — you may need them for living expenses, your shrinking paycheck or increased insurance premiums very soon.
Now the real work will begin for the Conference Committee to hammer out a reconciliation of the House and Senate versions and come up with a final bill that can pass both houses.
$398 Billion in New Taxes: You may need to spend some time studying this information to figure out how these bills are purportedly going to save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade. If you make more than $200,000 annually, use medical devices, require presription drugs, pay medical premiums, or own a business (that should cover the vast majority of you) you might be subject to one or more of the following:
- 5.4% surtax on your taxable income above $500,000,
- 2.5% excise tax on medical devices,
-40% excise tax on “High Cost” insurance plans,
- 62% increase (from 1.45% to 2.35%) in the hospital portion of payroll taxes for taxpayers making more than $500,000,
- penalties ranging from $750 per individual to 8% of payroll on companies and individuals for not having health coverage,
- numerous proposed fees on medicines, drugs and procedures,
- 10% tax on indoor tanning salons (no tax proposed on beachs YET).
Tort reform and healthy living incentives seem to be in short supply in both bills.
And all of these taxes will be collected a few years before the revised healthcare coverage goes into effect – so even though the government has never been able to save more than they spend – it is much easier when they sock away your money (vs. theirs).
Don’t be too upset with Congress though, your state representatives will be looking for new ways to tax you to cover the billions of dollars the feds will be shifting to the state level via Medicaid revisions.
The family gatherings over the next few days will be a great opportunity to educate your family members about what is really in these two pieces of legislation and encourage everyone to reach out to their representatives to ensure that their voices are heard.
Following is a link to a nice Reuters article which summarizes the House and Senate versions:
FACTBOX – Major Differences in the Seanate and House Bills – http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2317087220091224
Here are some other links to inform you of the impact on business and individuals and to highlight some of the issues which your congressional representatives may not be sharing with you:
Wall Street Journal – Businesses Brace For Health Bill’s Costs: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126153353820802365.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories
WSJ – Key Numbers – http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/12/24/the-senate-health-care-bill-six-key-numbers/
WSJ Blog – Reactions From Doctors/ Industry – http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/12/24/senate-bill-reactions-from-doctors-insurers-business-etc/
U.S. Chamber Denounces Passage of Healthcare Bill:
Financial Times (UK) – The Honest Case For a Bungled Healthcare Reform:
Congressman Ed Royce Reacts to Government Takeover of Healthcare: