Obama signs Health Care law

Taxes heat up battle against ‘Obamacare’; focus turns to partial repeals

by Tom Howell Jr.-The Washington Times  |  published on April 4, 2013

A tax on everything from X-ray machines to oxygen tanks took effect at the beginning of this year — one of about 20 taxes and fees included in President Obama’s health care law — and has emerged as the central battleground in the fight by the law’s opponents to repeal parts of the president’s overhaul.

In a nonbinding test vote last month, the Senate voted 79-20 to repeal the law’s 2.3 percent tax on medical devices, with 32 Democrats joining Republicans in pushing to scrap it.

The device tax is one of several that kicked in this year, along with higher taxes on investment income and an increase in the Medicare payroll tax among households making $250,000 per year.
Taxes and restrictions on flexible savings accounts, health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements are also starting to bite.

The tax penalty imposed on those who refuse to obtain health coverage will kick in next year, with a minimum penalty for low-income individual taxpayers of $95 in 2014, rising to $325 in 2015 and $695 in 2016. Those with higher incomes will end up paying more because their penalty is based on a percentage of their income — 1 percent in 2014, 2 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016 and beyond.

And still looming later this decade is a 40 percent excise tax on high-value “Cadillac” health insurance plans, which will not debut until 2018.

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