Politico is reporting that the Senate Finance Committee members have been notified that the committee’s health reform bill was filed today. S. 1796 weighs in at 1,502 pages, according to a Senate Republican leadership source. PDF File (1502 Pages)

Baucus Health Care Bill (Without Downloading – Docstocs)

UPDATES

Will Be Updating as I find the time to read this crap…

Tax on Employer paid insurance begins this January!

From Section 6002 on page 1435: INCLUSION OF COST OF EMPLOYER-SPONSORED HEALTH COVERAGE ON W–2

The definition of taxable income is revised to include “the aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored coverage”. . . “The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009.”

The actual rate is on page 1420 line 18.

“there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 40 percent of the 19 excess benefit.”

Note:  This appears to be different than identified in the CBO analysis on October 7.

However, an exception to that “firewall” would be allowed for workers who had to pay more than a specified percentage of their income for their employer’s insurance—10 percent in 2013, indexed over time—in which case the employer could also be penalized. Under certain circumstances, firms with relatively few employees and relatively low average wages would also be eligible for tax credits to cover up to half of their contributions toward health insurance premiums. Beginning in 2013, insurance policies with relatively high total premiums would be subject to a 40 percent excise tax on the amount by which the premiums exceeded a specified threshold. In general, that threshold would be set initially at $8,000 for single policies and $21,000 for family policies (although a number of exceptions would apply); after 2013, those amounts would be indexed to overall inflation plus 1 percentage point.

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LB Note:  Need to find the definition of “high cost states”???

Bloomberg via Drudge:  Reid Leads Democrats In Carving Out Favors for States on Health

The plan calls for “full federal funding” of Medicaid for new beneficiaries in only those states that had unemployment rates of at least 12 percent in August and whose Medicaid enrollment is below the national average. Only Nevada, Rhode Island, Michigan and Oregon meet that criteria. That prompted complaints from other lawmakers that their states would have to pay more.

UPDATE II

Hoyer Says Constitution’s ‘General Welfare’ Clause Empowers Congress to Order Americans to Buy Health Insurance

Hoyer said that, in providing for the general welfare, Congress had “broad authority.” “Well, in promoting the general welfare the Constitution obviously gives broad authority to Congress to effect that end,” Hoyer said. “The end that we’re trying to effect is to make health care affordable, so I think clearly this is within our constitutional responsibility.”

Hoyer compared a health insurance mandate to the government’s power to levy taxes, saying “we mandate other things as well, like paying taxes.” The section of the Constitution Hoyer was referring to, Article I, Section 8, outlines the powers of Congress, including raising taxes, but not the purchasing any type of product or service.

Comprehensive List of All Tax Hikes In Senate Finance “Obaucus” Health Plan

Excise Tax on High-Cost Health Plans.  New 40% excise tax on health insurance plans to the extent they exceed $26,000 in cost ($9850 single).  Exemptions made for over-55 retirees and “high-risk” professions; high-cost states phased in

Individual Mandate Tax.  If you don’t sign up for health insurance, you will have to pay a tax in the following range:

Single Family
100-300% FPL $750 $1500
300% + FPL $900 $1900

Employer Mandate Tax.  $400 per employee if health coverage is not offered.  Note: this is a huge incentive to drop coverage, as $400 is much less than the average plan cost of $11,000 for families or $5000 for singles (Source: AHIP)

Backdoor Death of HSAs.  By requiring that all plans (besides the few that are grandfathered) provided actuarially-generous coverage for most services, there would be no HSA-qualifying plans available from the Massachusetts-like exchanges

Report Employer Health Spending on W-2. This is clearly a setup for the easy individual taxation of employer-provided health insurance down the road.

Cap Flex-Spending Account (FSA) Contributions at $2500. Currently unlimited.

Eliminate tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D

Medicine Cabinet Tax.  Americans would no longer be able to purchase over-the-counter medicines with their FSA, HSA, or HRA

Increase Non-Qualified HSA Distribution Penalty from 10% to 20%.  This makes HSAs less attractive, and paves the way for HSA pre-verification

Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting.  Currently, only non-corporations providing property or services for a business must be issued at 1099-MISC.  This would expand the requirement to corporations doing business with other businesses.

Various industry tax grabs based on market share. $2.3 billion PhRMA; $6 billion health insurance providers; $4 billion medical device manufacturers

Increase “haircut” of medical itemized deductions from 7.5% to 10% of adjusted gross income (AGI)

UPDATE III

House Dems want Medicare for everyone

Say hello to “Medicare Part E” — as in, “Medicare for Everyone.” House Democrats are looking at re-branding the public health insurance option as Medicare, an established government healthcare program that is better known than the public option…

“It didn’t matter what they called Crystal Pepsi; no one wanted to drink it,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). “No matter how the Democrats ‘re-brand’ their government takeover of healthcare, the American people oppose it.” Republicans also note that Medicare is already $37 trillion in the hole and is projected to go bankrupt by 2018. “Has anyone noticed that Medicare is completely broke?”…]

“Wake Up People Before It Is Too Late…”

“The Elderly and the upcoming baby boomer retirees who paid their dues to SS and Medicare through payroll deductions are going to get screwed!

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