September 25th, 2009
05:11 PM ET
11 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. Laurie

    Taxing high end health insurance will just create more bureaucracy. Come on now! Let's streamline our reform efforts, not make the system more complex. We need a citizen healthcare bill of rights, non-profit co-ops to administer insurance, and reform on doctor and hospital payment schemes. This can be done in a bill much less than a 1,000 pages.

    September 25, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. db

    No new taxes on the middle-class? Another campaign promise about to fall. Not even 1 year into the Obama presidency, and very few unbroken promises remain. Wake up America!

    September 25, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Stu

    How about we do away with health insurance altogether and pay cash as you go? The actual taxpayers in this country are sick of being taxed to death to pay for welfare, welfare, and more welfare.

    How about Obama give up all his future money from books and lectures? Oprah can give all but $100,000 a year that she makes too! How about only democrats pay the taxes to fund Obamacare?

    September 25, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. D. Tree

    They should just adopt President Obama's proposal to make the amount of standard income tax deductions equal. That would pay for health care reform AND make taxes equal for the middle class and the rich.

    September 25, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. Gerry

    The Obama administration has already lied about taxes. The soda and drink tax when it come into effect will tax everyone. See how much spending power you will have next year at this time as compared to next year at this time.

    September 25, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Mark, Worcester MA

    Could someone please explain to me how forcibly raising the expense level for insurance companies is supposed to lower the cost of the insurance they provide? I can usually follow political circular logic, but this one appears to be more of a mobius strip – they never let me see quite all of it at the same time.

    September 25, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  7. Steve (the real one)

    Anybody actually think is not a tax on the people? What's up with liberals and higher taxes?

    September 25, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. gord

    only those who can afford health insurance should have it why should everybody else pay for those who can,t this is america

    September 25, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  9. 2010 is going be wonderful

    You liberal nitwits do realize that this WILL INCLUDE UNIONS and that is why they are against this as the so called "Cadillac plans" INCLUDE MANY OF THEIR sweetheart deals that they have made for uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh votes election after election. Oopsy.

    No new taxes liberals, how about that soda tax that's coming down the pipe?

    How about he no insurance tax that George Snuff shoved down Barry's throat this last Sunday?

    Ciggy taxes, who smokes cigs anymore...... people that make less than 250,000 I would just guess????

    Liar, liar, the admins on fire and you sheep bahhhhhhhh, bleat away.

    September 25, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. Carson

    Take that tax and shove it.
    I want the same insurance that I'm paying for, for Obama and his family and for my Congressman which is Federal Blue Cross.
    Give me the same health plan,
    Then and only then can you tax me.

    September 25, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Tax, Tax, Tax!

    Is that the only thing that ever occurs to these people?

    And is it possible that Pelosi &co. are so out of touch with reality that they expect insurers to just absorb the taxes? Of course they won't! They'll just pass them on to customers!

    September 25, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. Ken

    Ultimately, every tax is carried by the consumer. Our politicians have perfected the game of moving the taxes around, sales, income, property, evil business taxes, but eventually, business raise their prices to cover the taxes, and the consumer pays the price. The problem in the US has never been taxes. The problem continues to be out-of-control spending from Washington.

    September 25, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. GPC

    What happened to no tax increase if you made more than $250K. Now the bar is $1,000,000. Sounds like greed and influence peddling. Decent health care plans should not be taxes to give $999,999 earners a break. .

    GPC in LBB

    September 25, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. New Age Democrat

    and the tax will be passed on to... YOU.

    September 25, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  15. They call me "tater salad"

    Another effin tax, another effin tax, Hi Ho the Merry 'O another effin tax!

    September 25, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. SeAl

    The government is doing such a good job with their other business enterprises, why not give them something else they can't manage. I mean after all they've done so well with the post office, FannieMae, FreddieMac, Social Security, Medicade, and Medicare. Oh, and don't forget the balancing of the budget, the great non-American bailout, and cash for clunkers. Might as well add the bailout of the insurance industry, the financial industry, wallstreet, and the auto industry. Would you trust these people to run your business?

    September 25, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. Chris

    Why not ask those people who these liberals want to offer lifelong 'free' insurance to simply get off there lazy rears and go to work to earn their own way through life. The welfare system needs limits. Help those who are hard working people, yet laid off. They've earned MORE help than an welfare family ever will. Working class people are fed up with the Dems saying THEY want more coverage for the welfare people who can't afford anything because they don't work.

    September 25, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. Elizabeth

    I have said and still think that every American citizen should have an option to purchase the same health insurance plan, at the same price, that is available to members of Congress and other public officials. Public servants should not be an ELITE with special privileges; whatever insurance is available to them should be equally available to the rest of our people. Subsidies should be made available to citizens who cannot afford the full price of the insurance. This would be far less expensive than having hospitals and doctors absorb the cost and overcharge those who can pay to make up for those who cannot.

    September 25, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. Debby

    Pelosi is such an idiot. Why tax people who don't want to buy into the government run healthcare and want to keep their own private insurance. If this healthcare bill is so affordable then the people who want it should be able to pay a small tax on it.

    September 25, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. chess

    Right on, Farell in Houston!

    September 25, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. Tim

    The Democrats will tax everything that they can. They should charge the death tax on the death panel decisions.

    September 25, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Keith in Austin

    At the end of the day, YOU,ME and ALL taxpaying Americans will be seeing hefty tax increases as long as TAX and SPEND Liberals are in control in Washington! Enevitable folks! Vote them OUT.

    September 25, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  23. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    I'm betting a 'high end insurance plan' turns out to be anyone who has insurance.

    September 25, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Mouthy

    Tax the extremely rich to take care of the poor and the not so poor and the rich but not rich enough to tax haha

    September 25, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  25. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    The INSURERS are not going to pay this tax. They are going to pass it on to us, the INSUREES.

    September 25, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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