House Bill May Target Drugmakers’ Advertising Tax Breaks
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., says the House Ways and Means Committee may seek to raise money for health reform by imposing a $37 billion tax on drugmaker's advertisements, Bloomberg reports: "As lawmakers seek ways to pay for a health-care overhaul, 'one thing that's not off the table is you can pick up $37 billion knocking out the deduction for advertising' for prescription drugs,'" Rangel said. The idea is among several proposals by Democratic legislators to raise reform money (Donmoyer, 6/16).
Rangel's plan for taxing drugmakers, meanwhile, would pay for only a small piece of the bill, and the congressman said he expects to know whether that and other proposals are still on the table by Friday, CQ Politics reports. Speaking about the prescription drug ads, Rangel told CQ, "I go to the doctor and say, 'Did you ever think about ordering this for me?' If he says no, I don't like him, because they promised me on TV that I [would] have no problems at all" (Rubin, 6/16).
CongressDaily: "House Democrats are considering options such as raising the payroll tax that funds Medicare and slapping a new "surtax" on wealthier households to help pay for a $1 trillion-plus healthcare overhaul bill, according to a document obtained by CongressDaily. Lawmakers and aides cautioned that no decisions have been made, but the options distributed to Ways and Means Democrats provide a glimpse of the possible directions that chamber is headed in as it seeks $600 billion in new tax revenues to fund the bill. Every one of House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel's proposed options is controversial, and runs the risk of angering interest groups ranging from the small business lobby to the moribund newspaper industry" (Cohn, 6/17).
Rangel also is proposing cuts to private plans operating in Medicare Advantage, Reuters reports: "Companies, including Humana Inc and UnitedHealth Group Inc would be impacted by these cuts." Rangel added that he too was examining cutting the "depth" of the insurance subsidy for lower-income people (Dixon, 6/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.