House Democrats Consider Taxing Insurers For High-Premium Plans

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 26 2009 2:40 PM

In the House, Democrats are considering levying a tax on insurance companies for providing high-premium plans. In the Senate, the Finance Committee has recessed before considering the public option.

"House Democrats are considering an insurance tax to help pay for their health care overhaul plan, even though such a funding scheme is bitterly opposed by labor unions that are among the party's most loyal constituencies," The Associated Press reports. "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday a tax on high-cost health insurance plans is 'under consideration' as Democrats search for consensus within their ranks before taking a bill to the House floor later this fall." She added that "[t]here are other provisions in the Senate bill that bend the (costs) curve that might be more palatable. We'll see."

"Although Pelosi was noncommittal, an aide said that if the House does incorporate an insurance tax in its plan, it would probably be a more modest one than what Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., has proposed" (Werner and Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/25).

Meanwhile, "Senators debating a much-watched bill that would overhaul the nation's health-care system broke for the weekend Friday without tackling an issue that has split the American public: whether the government should sponsor a insurance plan to compete with private insurers," The Washington Post reports. "A group of Democrats had announced Thursday that they would bring up the so-called public insurance option in a meeting Friday of the Senate Finance Committee." But the committee " recessed before the issue could come to the floor. It will not reconvene until Tuesday morning, in observance of Yom Kippur on Monday" (Butterworth and Connolly, 9/25).

Source-Kaiser Health News