Democrats Want To Tax The Rich For Health Care

Key House Democrats decided to raise taxes on the wealthy to help pay for health care legislation. At the same time, Democratic leaders are trying to quell concerns among moderate and conservative lawmakers about other elements of the bill.

Democrats on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee agreed to a new surtax that would start with households making $350,000 a year and begin in 2011, said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

Rangel said the new surtax would be graduated, starting with households at $350,000 and then rising at $500,000 and again at $1 million. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid would raise about $500 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Lawmakers still can not provide an exact price tag of the overall bill.

The proposal faces an uncertain reception in the Senate and from moderate and conservative Democrats in the House, who rebelled over various aspects—including costs—of the plan.

Several Blue Dog members voiced concerns about new taxes, and it’s unclear whether the Senate would go along with the House on a tax on high earners. Asked if the Senate could support a “millionaire’s tax” to pay for health care, Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D, answered: “I don’t know.”

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