Baucus Advocates Repeal of Tax Exclusion on Employer-Based Health Insurance: Tax Foundation President on Fox News Discussing Proposal

March 13, 2009

As reported by Lori Montgomery in yesterday’s edition of the Washington Post, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has been advocating a repeal of the tax exclusion for employer-based health insurance benefits.

“With President Obama’s plan to tax the rich to pay for health care facing deep skepticism on Capitol Hill, key lawmakers are pressing a different way to raise money: taxing the health benefits workers receive from their employers.

“Since companies began offering group health insurance on a large scale during World War II, the value of that benefit has never been counted as income, reducing workers’ taxable earnings by an average of $9,000 a year for family coverage.

“In recent weeks, however, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the tax-writing Finance Committee, has repeatedly advocated changing tax laws to include employer benefits, arguing that it makes sense to fund the health-care changes by sucking cash out of the existing system. Meanwhile, 13 other senators — from both sides of the aisle — have signed on to a plan for universal coverage that includes a tax on employer-provided benefits.”

The Tax Foundation has its own expert on the intersection of health care and tax policies: Robert Carroll, Vice President for Economic Policy and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis at the Treasury Department under the Bush Administration. Last fall, he authored a report on a proposal to replace the tax exclusion for employer-based health coverage with a health insurance tax credit: Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 144. He also penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last October summarizing the issue.

Yesterday afternoon, Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge was on Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto discussing Baucus’ proposal.

By the way, do you know the difference between a tax deduction, exemption, credit and exclusion?

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