President’s Health Care Proposal Provides More Details, Taxes

By February 22, 2010Health Care, Taxation

Anticipating Thursday’s Blair House event, President Obama’s health care plan provides some more detail than the White House’s previous proposals. Bloomberg:

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama proposed the first Medicare tax on unearned income including capital gains, while raising fees on drugmakers and scaling back a levy on high-end benefits as part of a new plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system.

The Obama plan released today marks a reversal from months of leaving the details of the legislation largely up to congressional Democrats, and is intended to break an impasse in negotiations. Much of the proposal draws from separate bills passed by the House in November and the Senate in December.

This morning we predicted the White House would provide “framework of principles of conceptual reforms,” but in fact, the website provides a little more substance than that. A little more. For example, on the revenue side, Title IX, one section states:

Title IX. Revenue Provisions
Health Industry Fees

The Act will impose fees on various sectors of the health industry, intended to recapture some of the benefits they get as more Americans purchase health insurance. These include: (i) a fee on branded prescription drug pharmaceutical companies in proportion to their federal sales; (ii) an excise tax on medical devices; (iii) an annual fee on health insurance companies; and (iv) an excise tax on indoor tanning services.

You can dig down further for more information. For example, on the medical device tax, there’s explanation in the “Other Policy Improvements” section:

Delay and Convert Fee on Medical Device Manufacturers to Excise Tax.
The medical device industry also stands to gain from expanding health insurance coverage.  Both the House and Senate bills raise $20 billion in revenue from this industry over 10 years.  The President’s Proposal replaces the medical device fee with an excise tax (yielding the same revenue) that starts in 2013 to facilitate administration by the IRS.

Replacing a fee with a tax! Now that IS reform.

This is just a quick reax from one blogger (with an interest in the medical device industry, under so much attack on the litigation front.) The NAM will have a statement later in the day.

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