Preventive Care: Reading the Health Care Bill. Or Lifting It.

America's Affordable Health Care Choices Act (sure it is)

House Financial Services begins its mark-up of H.R. 3200, the Affordable Health Choices Act, at 9 a.m. today.

Energy and Commerce starts at 2 p.m.

Have you read it yet?

Have the committee members?

We’ll cut to the chase by taking a detour around the 1,000-plus pages.

THERE IS a serious case to be made that the U.S. income tax system should become more progressive. The average rate paid by the top 1 percent of households shrank from 33 percent in 1986 to about 23 percent in 2006. At the same time, the share of adjusted gross income claimed by that highest-earning sliver of American society doubled, from 11 percent to 22 percent. So, in principle, higher taxes for the well-heeled could make sense — as part of a broader rationalization of the unduly complex tax code.

But there is no case to be made for the House Democratic majority’s proposal to fund health-care legislation through an ad hoc income tax surcharge for top-earning households. The new surtax would hit individual households earning $350,000 and above. It would start at 1 percent, bumping up to 1.5 percent at $500,000 in income and to 5.4 percent at $1 million. The new levy would begin in 2011 and is supposed to raise $540 billion over 10 years, about half the projected cost of health-care reform. The rest of the money would come from reduced spending on Medicare and Medicaid — though the surtax for the lower two categories would jump by a percentage point each in 2013 unless the Office of Management and Budget determines that the rest of the bill has saved more than $150 billion.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Caitlin says:

    “We’re going to have 2 million to 4 million people pay for all of this when they are already paying 70 percent or 60 percent of all the tax income in this country. Where does this make sense?” Thank you CNBC for understanding that the middle class doesn’t have the money to pay for this Health Care Bill. Obama is running our country into further and deeper debt.

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