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New Taxes Loom for Health Reform Bill

May 20th, 2009 – On Monday, the Senate Finance Committee revealed proposed new taxes to help pay for the massive health reform bill. At the top of the list are new taxes on everything from sugary drinks to the benefits that some employees receive on their employer sponsored group health insurance benefits.

The Senators are scrutizining the $194.2 billion in revenue lost due to health tax breaks given in 2008.  The majority of that “lost revenue” comes from the tax exemption for employer-provided health-care benefits.  The Senate report is also referenced a possible restriction on the money employees can contribute to Flexible Spending Accounts.

Interestingly, the Senate Report is also targeting sugarying drinks, including soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy and sports drinks, iced teaks, iced coffees, flavored milk and dairy drinks. The tax would not apply to  drinks sweetened with noncaloric sweeteners.

These new taxes are just options at this point, but they clearly signal the lawmakers intent as theywork towards trying to pass a health-care package by this fall.

Source: Wall Street Journal Article by Janet Adamy.

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