September 25th, 2009
05:11 PM ET
5 years ago

House Democrats consider insurance tax to pay for health care bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Democratic leaders are discussing adding a tax on insurers as a way to reduce the overall price tag of their health care bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, told reporters Friday that an excise tax on high end insurance plans, similar to the one included in the Senate Finance Committee, was "under consideration."

But Pelosi added that leaders are also looking at other proposals to offset the costs of the bill.

"We have to see how much money we need, and if we're taking the bill down in costs there are other provisions in the Senate bill that bend the curve that might be more palatable," she said. "We'll see."


House Democratic leaders and key committee chairmen huddled Friday trying to come up with a final version of the House health care bill. Much of the discussion centered on how to cut about $200 billion in costs from the bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the House bill would cost $1.1 trillion over 10 years, but President Obama told Congress he wants a bill with a price tag of $900 billion.

The House Democrats' health care plan already includes a surtax on wealthy Americans. The graduated tax would apply to families making over $350,000 a year, with the rate increasing as income levels go up. But a number of freshmen Democrats argued the initial income level should be raised so that the tax doesn't unfairly burden small businesses. Leaders have now agreed to apply the surtax on those making more than $1million a year. But losing some revenue from the surtax is forcing Democratic leaders to look for other sources of funding.

Democratic leadership aides said if the House moves ahead with a tax on insurers, it would likely modify the Senate Finance Committee version because many Democrats are worried the Senate plan would hit middle class families.


Filed under: Health care • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. JP

    When you tax something you get less of it. Lets have a trial lawyer tax they make billions and billions sounds like a win win for everyone but the ambulance chasers.

    September 25, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. valwayne

    I thought nobody would pay a single extra cent. So much for Obama's promises. The Democrats will tax all of us until our eyes bleed. And if you're old and on medicare the cutbacks will insure there's no medical help for bleeding eyes. What a disaster!!!!

    September 25, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. A.B.

    I don't think that taxing health insurance plans is a good idea. I think that the Democrats should tax alcohol, tobacco, junk food, soft drinks and candy instead in order to money to finance the national health plan. This alternative will raise far more money than merely taxing insurance plans. Moreover, Pelosi and the Democrats should focus on keeping and expanding the public option and can even finance this public plan and its expansion by allocating fifty percent of the confiscated illegal drug proceeds towards national health insurance.
    TRY THOSE SUGGESTIONS ON FOR SIZE NANCY PELOSI!!

    September 25, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. A.B.

    I don't think that taxing health insurance plans is a good idea. I think that the Democrats should tax alcohol, tobacco, junk food, soft drinks and candy instead in order to raise money to finance the national health plan. This alternative will raise far more money than merely taxing insurance plans. Moreover, Pelosi and the Democrats should focus on keeping and expanding the public option and can even finance this public plan and its expansion by allocating fifty percent of the confiscated illegal drug proceeds towards national health insurance.

    TRY THOSE SUGGESTIONS ON FOR SIZE NANCY PELOSI!!

    September 25, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  5. G2009

    Shouldn't we be encouraging companies to be giving generous insurance plans to employees. The democrats love of tax is sooo strong that they are proposing something dumb.

    September 25, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    I'm for taxing the patrons at FAST FOOD restaurants and Others!!

    – tax large orders of French fries

    – tax anybody that orders a burger that's more than 1/3 of a pound

    – tax everyone that SUPER-SIZE their orders

    – tax the Ice Cream makers that make EXTRA CREAMY Vanilla ice cream (mmm mmm)

    – tax the grocery stores who INSIST on having candy at the checkout on the level of children

    This would make us MORE HEALTHY at the same time – maybe we won't need health care at all.....LOL

    September 25, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. Jeff in NJ

    Hey, here's a novel idea... how about we have EVERYONE pay FICA... for their TOTAL income. Not just income up to $104,000. I'd bet we'd be able to pay for Healthcare and... God forbid... pay down the debt. Simple solution, and it simply a matter of everyone paying their fair share.

    And to those who would complain about this idea, I ask you this, "Would you have been able to acquire that kind of wealth if you did not live in this country?"

    September 25, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. rjt

    to "reformed republican" , you errorneously assume we actually want a "public option". The majority of Americans say no we don't. he majority of Americans do not want these tax increases you suggest, telling us what to eat etc.. You need to lay off the crack because you have no idea what it is to be an American.

    September 25, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  9. redneck

    Good grief;how stupid are the people in congress? Any tax on insurance companies will be passed on to us ; ibid a new tax for all of us!

    September 25, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. Steve

    Our country has turned into a disgrace. Repubs and Dems really don't care about you and I. You people are freaking idiots. I read your comments attacking each other and I just want to laugh/cry. This country is being ran by a bunch of crooks, that would do anything for a vote. An yet we keep voting them in, shame on us. Have you ever heard the saying "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me". How many more times until we pull our heads out of or butts and start cleaning house. 2010 VOTE AGAINST ALL INCUMBENTS, Lets make a real change.

    September 25, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. aware

    The Pelosi Bill is what Obama will sign because he just equivocates and spouts ethereal, other worldly rhetoric! :(

    Roll on 2012! :)

    September 25, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. AJ

    Oh gosh, how stupid can Pelosi get? A tax will get passed on to consumers and make insurance just that much more expensive. I am a lifelong democrat but this is absurd. I really think health care reform should be scrapped right now, congress should lose their health benefits and be forced to purchase insurance on the open market and only after they have done so for a period of time should congress be aloowed to reconsider health care reform.

    September 25, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  13. cramit

    Dems favorite word TAX....Second favorite SPEND They are trying to figuer out how to tax a tax on tax .

    September 25, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. cramit

    How does taxes on top of taxes spur the economy and create JOBS? jobs increase revenue to the feds . Works every time but I don't see tha "DEAR LEADER " doing anything to make jobs . just the oposite. Thats the change he believes in

    September 25, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  15. RR

    yes, taxing rich people is an infinite source of revenue. Can we tax them at 110% of their income?

    September 25, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  16. YBM

    The Dems are soooooo brainless. Either that or they really don't care about people. Everyone knows that the "tax on insurance companies" would be passed on to the customers and the insurance companies won't lose anything. Another way to sneak a "tax increase" in on us. More change you can believe in. Have you sheeple finished your coolaide yet?

    September 25, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
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