Let’s run down some ofÂ the proposals.
The Senate Finance Committee proposedÂ taxing someÂ high-income employeesÂ (pdf) Â for the value of their employer-paid health insurance premiums and reimbursements.
Last year,Â $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 biggestÂ health care-related tax “expenditure” in 2008. By expenditure, we mean taxes that were not collected.
TheÂ committee proposed several ways to limit or do away with this taxÂ exemption for high-incomeÂ employees. Employees would pay for this reform effort.
The committee also suggestedÂ severalÂ Â ways to collect more money by adjusting income tax exemptions on health benefits provided by Medicare and other government programs.Â 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 salesÂ — 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,Â introducedÂ the Patients’ Choice Act, which included eliminatingÂ tax incentives for employers who payÂ employees’ health benefits. Employers would pay for this reform.
Other stories worth a read:
- The MedZilla report: April 2009 employment outlook for biotech/pharma/healthÂ (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 applicationsÂ (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 careÂ (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 warnsÂ 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)
[Â "Pay as You Go" photo illustration by Flickr user ysella.]