The Time Has Come To End The Health Care Tax Exclusion

Merrill Goozner

First published 4/11/11 on Gooz News

President Obama on Wednesday will unveil his counteroffer for bringing the nation’s budget deficit under control. Last week, the Republican plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., chairman of the House Budget Committee, focused public attention on cutting health care subsidies for seniors and low-income people. Will the president go after the bloated health care sector, too?

Here’s one way he could raise a half trillion dollars in the next four years from health without touching seniors or the poor. The plan would win plaudits from tax purists and deficit hawks. And it would make a major contribution to holding down the growth in health care costs, while testing Ryan’s claim to back putting tax expenditures on the table.

The president should propose eliminating the income tax exclusion for health care benefits.

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