Health Bill Negotiators Consider Applying Medicare Tax To Investment Income, WSJ Reports
News outlets explore some of the unsettled and sticky policy questions such as what taxes might pay for it, and whether mandates to buy coverage should be included in the health overhaul legislation.
The Wall Street Journal: "House and Senate negotiators are considering applying for the first time the Medicare payroll tax to investment income as part of a compromise to pay for a health overhaul. The extra Medicare tax would apply only to the wealthy and could allow congressional Democrats to reduce the sting of a tax on high-cost insurance plans, said Democratic aides and others briefed on the negotiations" (Vaughan and Meckler, 1/12).
NPR: House and Senate lawmakers are attempting to merge their legislation, but "key disputes" remain. "One example are the so-called 'health care exchanges,' the new marketplaces where individuals and small businesses would be able to shop for health insurance," something both groups agree on in principle but handle quite differently. The Senate would allow states to manage their own exchanges and keep the exchange available only for the uninsured and small businesses, while the House would consider opening exchanges to more people later on and manage them at the federal level (Rovner, 1/12).
The Sacramento Bee: "The so-called individual mandate, a centerpiece of the sweeping effort to overhaul the country's health care system, seemed a nonissue during most of the early debate just months ago, but in recent weeks it has emerged as another obstacle in the effort to pass legislation providing health insurance to millions of Americans who lack it." But, now, libertarians consider it intrusive and unconstitutional, while some liberals argue it would "allow insurance companies to hold consumers hostage" (Calvan, 1/12).
McClatchy: One thing lawmakers including Republicans do agree on is a provision requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts for everything on their menus. "Politically, the provision is a rare example of lawmakers from both parties agreeing on a nuance of the mammoth health care bill" (Lightman, 1/11).