It’s just wrong to put the burden of paying for health care reform on middle-class families, but that’s exactly what the tax on benefits in some Senate proposals does. The Senate Finance Committee bill imposes a 40 percent tax that would hit one-third of all individual and family plans within a few years of the law taking effect. A direct result of this tax: Millions of working families would face higher costs and cuts in benefits.
The House bill gets it right. It guarantees that employees pay their fair share by requiring them to provide insurance or pay into a common fund so responsible employers don’t continue to pick up the tab for freeloaders. It includes a public health insurance option to lower costs and keep insurance companies honest. It covers 96 percent of Americans, is entirely paid for and reduces the deficit. It includes a surtax on the very wealthy who benefited so richly from the Bush tax cuts. And it lets families keep the health care they have instead of facing cuts in benefits and higher costs.