Lobbyists call health care bill costly

Left to right: House Democratic Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA)


Steve Chiotakis: The pieces are moving forward on the health care game board. Today, President Obama has a Rose Garden event to plug the bill unveiled yesterday by House Democrats. It would insure nearly all Americans, using tax hikes and surcharges to pay the trillion-dollar bill. That amount would be over a period of 10 years, but it only took about 10 minutes or so for business lobbyists to react. Here's Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman.

Mitchell Hartman: The House bill would fund the push for universal coverage with tax hikes on top wage-earners. And there would be penalties for all but the very smallest businesses if they don't cover their workers. They'd be charged 8 percent of payroll.

The reaction from business groups has been swift and sharp. A lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Business says it "costs too much" and "has way too much government involvement."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is zero'ing in on the tax hikes -- almost 5.5 percent for someone earning more than a million dollars. The Chamber says higher income taxes will keep small-business owners from growing their companies and hiring new workers.

The Senate is working slower on its version of health care reform, and there's less appetite there for tax hikes on the wealthy or penalties on business. But the Senate is looking at taxing employer-provided health benefits for the highest earners.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.
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This report made me laugh -- sort of. All these talking heads (wait, are they still heads if we can't see them?) claim that a public healthcare option will bankrupt some, put some out of business, cause general havoc in the population and probably implode the entire economic system. Just who are these prophets, anyway, and how do they know for sure all these dire consequences will rain down on us? After we read/hear what these gloomy folks have to say, we hear it repeated endlessly by those who repeat the soundbites without thinking. Pretty soon, the fear that a few want to instill has been instilled. You can bet that lobbyists are having a heyday with this one. No one whose bloated paycheck depends upon the healthcare status quo wants to see anything change. And they're paying enormous sums to see that the status stays quo-ed. If you've not been touched by uninsurability, by having been denied insurance due to preexisting conditions, loss of employment (or any other reason for which you find yourself uninsured) then you probably don't care if reform happens. You can afford to badmouth reform. There are millions who don't have that luxury.

And what's up with NPR, National PUBLIC Radio? What is this headline for a major achievement? Lobbyists say it is too costly? Lobbyists for who? Obviously not for the public, the people!! You don't seem to understand the full economic impact of Universal Health Care! How about work days that are not lost to sickness or even death? How about 20.000 people dying unnecessarily every year because they simply have no access to health care? What about THAT lost work force? What is the cost of that?

"I do not want Universal Health Care- it is too costly." - You are obviously one of the few either healthy or wealthy people in this country. What's really costly is having this country run by corporate brainwashed bastards. So I am glad that in a way, like you said, "this man has never run a business".

I do not want Universal Health Care- it is too costly. It will bankrupt many small business- or - at least cause more lay-offs because of the cost. Get real people what are you thinking. Cut Medicare again! Why, the Federal Government took a a healthy program and loaned the money and lost it, do they think they can do better now. I think not. I am not Rep. or Dem. I vote for whomever I believe will do the best job. Right now I wish someone else had of won the election, this man has never run a business, much less a country.

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