Health Care Companies Fighting Some Tax Provisions In Finance Bill
News outlets examined tax provisions in health legislation.
"U.S. Senate healthcare reform bill would raise $29 billion more in taxes on healthcare companies over 10 years than originally estimated, congressional experts said on Tuesday, fueling new Republican attacks on the legislation," Reuters reports. "The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation reported the bill would raise $121 billion in fees on drug companies, health insurers and the makers of medical devices, up from the $92 billion it reported last month." The Joint Committee said the estimate changed "because the companies would not be able to deduct the fees from their corporate taxes. Senator Charles Grassley, the senior Republican on the panel, said the higher taxes would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher insurance premiums and healthcare costs" (Whitesides, 10/6).
USA Today: "Hospitals, coal miners and clinical labs are among the special interests that have won exemptions from taxes and other cost-cutting measures in a health care plan crafted by the Senate Finance Committee." The bill provides hospitals with a "10-year exemption from cost-cutting recommendations that would be made by an independent federal commission charged with controlling spending in the government's Medicare program. Richard Coorsh of the Federation of American Hospitals said the group reached agreement with the Obama administration to forgo $155 billion in government reimbursements over a decade to help pay for the plan." But the hospital deal "has drawn the ire of doctors' groups, who would be subject to commission recommendations. Michael Maves, CEO of the American Medical Association, called the provision a 'serious inequity' in a letter to Baucus last month" (Schouten and Fritze, 10/7).
Roll Call: "The conservative Institute for Liberty today is launching a new project to mobilize small-business owners' opposition to any health care reform bill that includes government mandates. The effort, dubbed Keeping Small Business Healthy, is kicking off events today in Baton Rouge, La., and Little Rock, Ark." In a statement, Andrew Langer, president of the ILF and executive director of Keep Small Business Healthy said "Ill-conceived health care reforms will penalize employers" (Ackley and Murray, 10/7).