Baucus reconsiders raising taxes on elderly

Washington Post:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is looking to revise a key financing provision of his health reform package in light of a new analysis showing that it would impose a particularly heavy tax burden on people over 65, aides said.

A day after the committee soundly defeated proposals for a government insurance plan, Republicans are preparing to challenge Baucus's proposal to limit tax deductions for medical expenses as a direct hit on financially strapped seniors. According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the proposal would raise $21.7 billion over the next decade, about half of it from people over 65.

Baucus added the tax increase to the massive bill at the last minute to help lower coverage costs for uninsured middle-income families and individuals. It would change a provision in current law that permits people to deduct medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of income. Instead, Baucus would raise that threshold to 10 percent of income in 2013. But a Democratic committee aide said Baucus was considering revisions that would ease the burden on the elderly.

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One of the reasons the elederly have been so opposed to the Democrat health care reform was that they felt like they would wind up losing coverage under Medicare. Now they find that they will also have to pay higher taxes to provide health care to middle class people. This will be another reason to vote against Demcorats in 2010.

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