Rangel Proposes Surtax on Wealthy for Health Care

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has been called to the White House to discuss his proposed surtax on the wealthy to pay for health insurance reform.

Rangel, along with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., were summoned to the White House meeting on Monday following Rangel’s proposal on Friday to levy a surtax on the wealthy to help pay for health insurance reform, according to the Associated Press. Baucus, on the other hand, has been pushing the concept of taxing exceptionally generous employer-provided health insurance benefits, but the tax on health benefits is proving to be politically unpopular. Democrats are having trouble agreeing on an approach, and the goal of passing a comprehensive bill by August now appears unlikely.

Rangel’s proposal would include three surtax rates on individuals who earn over $280,000, $400,000 and $800,000 per year, and couples who make over $350,000, $500,000 and $1 million per year, according to Politico.com. The rates would range from 1 to 3 percent. The health insurance overhaul is expected to cost at least $1 trillion over 10 years. Rangel said his surtax proposal would bring in about $540 billion over 10 years, while the employer health benefits tax has been forecast as raising $320 billion.

Rangel was expected to introduce a bill in his committee Monday, but the White House meeting may change that. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., expressed reservations about the proposal on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, saying, “I think we’re going to take a different approach.”

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