Let’s run down some of the proposals.
The Senate Finance Committee proposed taxing some high-income employees (pdf) for the value of their employer-paid health insurance premiums and reimbursements.
Last year, $132.7 billion-worth of employer-paid health benefits were exempt from income taxes, according to the committee’s report. It was by far the government’s biggest health care-related tax “expenditure” in 2008. By expenditure, we mean taxes that were not collected.
The committee proposed several ways to limit or do away with this tax exemption for high-income employees. Employees would pay for this reform effort.
The committee also suggested several ways to collect more money by adjusting income tax exemptions on health benefits provided by Medicare and other government programs. Employees would pay for these adjustments.
And the committee proposed some changes for employers, too, including adjusting the subsidy for employers that pay for prescription drug plans for employees.
The committee also proposed two non-health tax changes — increase taxes on tobacco and alcohol sales – to help pay for health care reform. Obviously, buyers of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages would pay for this effort.
Also last week, Senators Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican and a medical doctor, and Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, introduced the Patients’ Choice Act, which included eliminating tax incentives for employers who pay employees’ health benefits. Employers would pay for this reform.
Other stories worth a read:
- The MedZilla report: April 2009 employment outlook for biotech/pharma/health (PRWeb)
- Mercy unveils latest technology for pancreas and bile duct stone treatment, tissue samples (Mercy Medical Center)
- Cleveland BioLabs signs term sheet for joint venture to develop Curaxin compounds for cancer applications (Marketwire)
- Webcast your brain surgery? Hospitals see marketing tool (New York Times)
- Biotech researchers struggle in a tidal wave of data (San Francisco Business Times)
- Aging population increases demand for home care (Boston Busines Journal)
- Big drug companies hiring steadily (Boston Business Journal)
- GlaxoSmithKline, IRS tangle in tax court (Wall Street Journal; subscription required)
- Cancer hospital plans large airport ads (Columbus Dispatch)
- Kalamazoo drug developer secures $10 million (West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative)
- FDA Okays alternative to Botox: But agency warns of risks for both drugs (Washington Post)
- Tekmira tackles RNAi delivery challenge, with Alnylam, Roche putting it to the test (Xconomy | Seattle)
- Wright State to graduate nearly 100 doctors (Dayton Business Journal)
- H1N1 flu infects 13,000 people in 46 countries: WHO (Boston Globe)
[ "Pay as You Go" photo illustration by Flickr user ysella.]