Wednesday, March 18, 2009

News You Can Use: Obama open to taxing health benefits

When President Obama told attendees at this month's White House forum on health care reform that there were "no sacred cows," and "all options are on the table," few suspected he meant taxing health care benefits, as he campaigned hard last year against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for proposing just that.

However, at a recent Congressional hearing, when Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) raised the issue with presidential budget director Peter Orszag, Orszag said making benefits taxable should “most firmly should remain on the table.” Wyden has crafted a health care reform proposal of his own that would tax benefits.

Although details still have yet to be ironed out, it's believed that employer contributions for health benefits would not be taxed, but that the cost of providing benefits would be factored in to total compensation and subject to taxes.

What do you think of this proposal? It no doubt will be politically unpopular, but could it finance a larger reform effort that is sorely needed? Comment and let me know.

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