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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