COM­MENT & ANAL­Y­SIS

Oba­macare’s hefty tax bill Supreme Court should strike down penal­ties against health care free­dom

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion -

Pres­i­dent Obama promised to make health care more af­ford­able, but in­stead he’s done the op­po­site. The White House and con­gres­sional Democrats slipped 20 new taxes into the Oba­macare leg­is­la­tion to raise $500 bil­lion to help pay for the new en­ti­tle­ment’s $2.6 tril­lion cost. It’s now up to the Supreme Court to pro­vide re­lief.

Mr. Obama claims to want to raise taxes only on “mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires,” but his sig­na­ture health care law hits the mid­dle class hard. Amer­i­cans for Tax Re­form (ATR) an­a­lyzed the 2,700-page bill and came up with a com­pre­hen­sive list of its levies. “Obama promised no taxes of any kind for those who earn less than $250,000. Oba­macare broke that pledge re­peat­edly,” ATR Pres­i­dent Grover Norquist told The Washington Times. “They de­lib­er­ately hid the taxes and wisely un­der­stood that de­lay­ing the pain by mak­ing the ef­fec­tive date af­ter the elec­tion, maybe you could get through the elec­tion.”

The left mis­tak­enly thinks com­pa­nies will just ab­sorb the ex­tra charges from Un­cle Sam and not pass them along to con­sumers. Med­i­cal-de­vice man­u­fac­tur­ers will be smacked with a 2.3 per­cent tax in the new year, driv­ing up the costs of things like wheel­chairs, stents and pace­mak­ers. In­no­va­tive drug com­pa­nies al­ready are send­ing Washington $2.3 bil­lion in taxes for a sur­charge on their share of sales, which helps ex­plain why pre­scrip­tion-drug spend­ing will see a pro­jected 10.7 per­cent in­crease in 2014. That’s also when health-in­sur­ance com­pa­nies face a new sur­charge on sales that will re­sult in an es­ti­mated $350 to $400 in­crease in an­nual pre­mi­ums. So much for the pres­i­dent’s prom­ise to re­duce the cost of in­sur­ance by $2,500.

Amer­i­cans who refuse to go along with Oba­macare by buy­ing a pol­icy not ap­proved by the gov­ern­ment will be charged 1 per­cent of their in­come in 2014, ris­ing to 2.5 per­cent in 2016. Em­ploy­ers with more than 50 em­ploy­ees who don’t of­fer health cov­er­age and have at least one em­ployee who qual­i­fies for a health tax credit will be pe­nal­ized $2,000 per per­son. If the em­ployee re­ceives cov­er­age through this ex­change, the penalty goes up to $3,000. An em­ployer with a 30- to 60-day en­roll­ment wait­ing pe­riod will have to pay $400 per per­son. These new penal­ties on em­ploy­ers who don’t pro­vide the health cov­er­age dic­tated by bu­reau­crats will amount to $113 bil­lion. Ex­pect com­pa­nies to pay less and lay off more. Growth will be fur­ther stunted when Jan­uary brings a new levy on in­vest­ment in­come for those who earn more than $200,000, mak­ing the tax on cap­i­tal gains 23.8 per­cent and div­i­dends a stag­ger­ing 43.4 per­cent.

This mon­ster law al­ready has cre­ated 159 new pro­grams and boards in Washington. As Mr. Norquist ex­plained, “It’s a huge in­crease in the size and scope of gov­ern­ment be­cause the gov­ern­ment is get­ting con­trol of 15 per­cent of the econ­omy.” The Supreme Court needs to re­ject this un­con­sti­tu­tional power grab and re­turn the money to the peo­ple who ac­tu­ally earned it.

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