NYT: Redistribution Of Wealth At Heart Of Health Care Bill

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The bill is the most sweeping piece of federal legislation since Medicare was passed in 1965.  It aims to smooth out one of the roughest edges in American society — the inability of many people to afford medical care after they lose a job or get sick.  And it would do so in large measure by taxing the rich.

A big chunk of the money to pay for the bill comes from lifting payroll taxes on households making more than $250,000.  On average, the annual tax bill for households making more than $1 million a year will rise by $46,000 in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research group.  Another major piece of financing would cut Medicare subsidies for private insurers, ultimately affecting their executives and shareholders.

The benefits, meanwhile, flow mostly to households making less than four times the poverty level — $88,200 for a family of four people.  Those without insurance in this group will become eligible to receive subsidies or to join Medicaid (Many of the poor are already covered by Medicaid).

– David Leonhardt, “In Health Care Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality”, The New York Times, March 24, A1

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