June 7 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama wants Congress to consider taxing the wealthy instead of workers to pay for a health-care overhaul, as House Democrats discuss a plan to require health insurance for most Americans.
The Obama administration stepped up efforts to influence health-care legislation today as advisers David Axelrod and Austan Goolsbee appeared on television talk shows to discuss the issue.
The president is trying to avoid broad-based levies such as a Senate proposal to tax some employer-provided health benefits Axelrod said. Instead he is urging lawmakers to reconsider limiting all tax deductions for Americans in the highest tax brackets.
“He made a very strong case for the proposal that he put on the table, which was to cap deductions for high-income Americans, and he urged them to go back and look at that,” Axelrod said on the CNN’s “State of the Union.” Goolsbee, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” said Obama is “mindful” about how “ordinary Americans are able to foot the bills” and never proposed taxing employee benefits.
House Democrats are weighing a new proposal in response to Obama’s call for legislation to be enacted by August. An outline of the plan obtained by Bloomberg News would require Americans to have insurance with some exceptions.
It would probably exempt those who can prove they can’t find an affordable policy. There could be a tax penalty for those with adequate financial resources who don’t elect to get insurance, according to the outline.
The outline suggests consumers who have individual health insurance policies that they like could keep them. Still, it says that “by and large” the nation’s market for individually purchased health insurance policies would move to a new federally operated exchange. It would permit both individuals and employees of small firms to buy policies at less expensive group rates.
“States will have the option to run a state exchange but the default will be a national exchange,” according to the outline. [Read more…]