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Health Insurance Plan Proposal Raises Taxes on Wealthy

Armen Hareyan's picture

President Bush is hoping to turn the upcoming debate over children's health insurance into one that focuses on helping all of the uninsured. The presidents position would help the nations uninsured, but raise taxes on the wealthy.

In his attempt to expand the health insurance debate, Bush added a new wrinkle to his health care plan unveiled earlier this year. In that proposal, Bush called for making health insurance more affordable for many families through changes in the tax code. Meanwhile, some families with more expensive health insurance policies would see their taxes rise.

Bush's new insurance proposal would treat health insurance benefits as taxable income. Bush said, he would be "willing to discuss whether taxpayers should get a standard deduction" to compensate them, as he originally suggested, or a tax credit.

Florida health insurance consultant Morgan Moran, of FloridaHealthInsuranceWeb.com speaking at a health insurance conference in Orlando said, "Bush's option would be more helpful to many low-income families" because they would get the credit even if they owe little or no income tax. However, Democrats described the president's proposal as a distraction, not a compromise.

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According to a story in Forbes Magazine, "President Bush's proposal was dead on arrival five months ago. Nothing has changed," said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., and chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. "Bush is trying to use his proposal to sideline a Democratic effort to provide health coverage to millions more children."

Democrats have proposed adding $50 billion in new spending to SCHIP over five years. The president made it clear that he opposes such an expansion. His budget recommended adding $4.9 billion. He and his advisers called the coming fight over how much to expand the program a decisive moment in health care - a moment that could lead to more government-sponsored coverage or more coverage through the private sector.

"It's clear to us that the conversation needs to be not just about how we insure children with low incomes, but how we assure that every American has access to a basic, affordable plan," said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. Other insurance experts, like Moran said, anyone can see that all Americans need some sort of basic health insurance coverage, not just children." Bush said that as many as "20 million people would be able to afford basic insurance" through his proposal, which would provide a tax credit of $5,000 per family. Bush said. "I'm going to continue to push for new and innovative ways to help every American afford basic private health insurance."

"If the president is serious about addressing this enormous national need," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V.," then he will set aside partisan games and work with Congress to quickly pass the new health insurance bill.

Florida Health Insurance Web is an online source of health insurance agents and insurance carriers covering individuals in the state of Florida. Individuals can get insurance quotes, search rates online by city, read current insurance news and events. For a directory and archive of Florida Health Insurance Consultants, a listing of the best rates and free quotes, please visit FloridaHealthInsuranceWeb.com