Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Harkin Looks at Taxing Health Care Benefits

During the presidential campaign, Democrats railed against John McCain's plan to makes you pay income tax your health care benefits.

Last week, Sen. Tom Harkin came out saying that he is willing to look into taxing health care benefits.

"The more we start looking at it, the more briefings I get, this may be, if it's done right ... a good source of revenue to provide better benefits for everyone," Harkin told reporters during a conference call.

Harkin said he would support shielding low-income workers from the tax if such a measure was proposed. [...]

The concept was at the heart of the health care plan proposed during the 2008 presidential campaign by Republican nominee John McCain, an Arizona senator. [...]

Harkin is a senior majority member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He is in charge of drafting language dealing with disease prevention and public health policy for a health-care reform bill expected this spring.

This is a ridiculous position and would encourage more businesses to not offer health care benefits and more people to forgo the insurance benefits from their employer.

1 comment:

Ben said...

As I understand it, the health care benefit tax would be part of the methods employed to reduce the total cost of a comprehensive health care overall. The basic idea is you tax "golden health care plans" and use that money to offset the cost of health care for lower income folks. You get around the "companies just won't offer health care" problem by mandating that all employers offer health care.

It's a crazy idea, but right now congress is grasping at all sorts of crazy ideas to pay for the universal health care plan that progressives are demanding. Short of a single payer system, the money to pay for health insurance for those who can't afford it has to come from somewhere.