Health Insurance Obama's Top Priority Of The Week

Armen Hareyan's picture

The president Barack Obama is back from his trip and is expected to make health insurance and health care reform as its top priority of the week. Health care reform plan remains without progress in Congress the cost of health insurance being the major issue, as its point of contention.

On the Senate side, the Finance Committee has not yet released a draft reform plan, but it is starting to looking at ways to pay for the health care overhaul.

The Real Cost Of Health Care Reform

The latest idea, according to Senate Finance Committee Approach (source Bloomberg) is subjecting the capital gains income to 1.45 percent Medicare Tax. This can raise hundreds of billions of dollars for the health insurance coverage reform over the next ten years. This proposal comes after the Senate Democrats backed away from the plan to tax the employer based health insurance coverage.

On the House Side, the Ways & Means Committee is proposing a surtax on high earner to fund health insurance reform. This will apply to households earnings more than $250,000 dollars a year. It is expected that 2.4 percent of U.S. taxpayers will be hit by this surtax and it will help to raise $375 billion dollars over the next ten years, according to the Center for Tax Justice.

Bloomberg's Health Care correspondent Kristin Jensen speaking from the D.C. newsroom says the main action today on health care is in the House. Today we may see their draft on the health care bill and we may also see the surtax on the wealthy Americans. The latest is obviously of interest to many Americans as they want to see how this surtax will shake out their pockets to fund the health insurance reform.


The Senate really hasn't landed there yet. We hear that the surtax is one of the options that they are considering, but it is for the very very wealthy Americans, starting at $350,000 income level. However, they haven't settled that yet. It will be interesting to see how the Senate program on health care reform will come out.

Main Sticking Point To Fund Health Insurance Reform

The House bill, which is mainly pushed by the Democrats has one main sticking point. It is the tax hike, suggested to pay for the health care reform. However, some conservative Democrats and Republicans say they are not involved in it. They are worried about the method of the taxing and say they would like to see some of those taxes coming from within the health care system.

So there are two issues: the cost and the public option. The cost of the health care reform will be a stumbling block. Also, the House has embraced the Public Health Insurance option, which they have to reconcile in the Senate. So this will be another issue.

Obama and the health care debate

The president has so far stayed out of the the health care reform negotiations. He actually has done the opposite of what the Clintons have done. However, a lot of Senators are saying that he needs to take a more active role in the the negotiations of how to fund health insurance coverage for millions of Americans and we expect him to do that in the upcoming days.

Written by Armen Hareyan