Fact Check: The Truth Behind Obama's Health Care Plan

The sticky question comes when determining who should pay taxes on their health care benefits. Not everyone. One idea on Capitol Hill is to tax benefits for people whose benefits are worth 10 percent more than what federal workers get.

Another way to raise revenue would be to penalize companies that do not currently offer benefits. One riff on this idea would be to levy a sort of tax on companies whose employees qualify for Medicaid.

These issues have stalled members of the Senate Finance Committee, who have been wrangling for weeks in closed-door negotiations as they strive for a bipartisan formula to pay for reform.

Fact check no. 7: Right Track/Wrong Track? Taxing Benefits

When Charlie Gibson challenged Obama to reconcile his harsh criticism of taxing health care benefits during last year's presidential campaign with the current reality that he may have to sign a bill that does exactly that, Obama maintained that he did not like the idea, but would not rule it out.

During the campaign, part of Republican nominee John McCain's health care reform plan including taxing the value of the health care benefits employees receive from their employers. Candidate Obama issued one of his harshest criticisms of McCain for that plan.

"For the first time in American history, he wants to tax your health benefits," Obama said on the campaign trail last fall. "Apparently, Sen. McCain doesn't think it's enough that your health premiums have doubled. He thinks you should have to pay taxes on them, too."

But the reality of reforming health care from the White House has changed that. Despite his campaign rhetoric, as president, Obama has refused to rule out a tax on money paid into a health plan, creating the appearance of a flip-flop on the issue.

Wednesday night, Obama argued that taxing benefits is still not his first choice as a way to pay for health care, but that some compromise might have to be reached in Congress.

"You went after him for suggesting that we tax that money," Gibson said to Obama.

"I continue to believe that it would be the wrong way to go for us to eliminate the deduction, or the exclusion, on healthcare benefits," Obama replied. "That essentially taxes current benefits."

But, he said, among the options being discussed in Congress to cap the exclusion of healthcare benefits so that so-called gold-plated plans might pay more in taxes, might have to be part of the conversation.

"There's going to have to be some compromise at the end of the day," Obama said.

ABC News' Kate Barrett contributed to this report.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...