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July 20th, 2009
06:16 AM ET

Sebelius: Possible tax on rich for health care

WASHINGTON (CNN) - More work is needed on proposed health care legislation to make sure that it doesn't add to the budget deficit, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/20/sebelius.getty.art.jpg caption="Health Secretary Kathleeen Sebelius said it may be necessary to tax the wealthy to pay for health care reform."]

Appearing on the NBC program "Meet the Press," Sebelius said a tax surcharge on wealthy Americans is "a legitimate way to go forward."

The taxes would start with people making $350,000.

She noted the tax surcharge provision in a House proposal was one of several options under discussion to help pay for overhauling the nation's ailing health system.

A final bill "will be paid for - it will not add to the deficit," Sebelius said of health care reform, which is President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.

Both the House and Senate are working on proposals that would create a government-funded public health insurance option intended to drive down costs of private coverage.

However, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported last week that the measures currently under consideration in both chambers would not pay for themselves, increasing the budget deficit.

Democrats pushing the health care bills argue the CBO analysis lacks the impact of cost-cutting measures under discussion for existing programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Keep reading this story »

What do you think? Should the government tax the rich to help pay for health care reform?


Filed under: Health
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Buyer's Remorse

    To: Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL

    Why do you assume that people who oppose your viewpoints are Republicans? You have clearly been brainwashed by the Democratic side into blaming all of your problems on the Republicans. Seriously, wake up and think for yourself! Oh, and before you label me as a Republican so that you can sleep better at night, know that I'm not. I was once a Democrat, but the cult like mentality of blaming the other side of late has pushed me into a third column.

    We need a true third party!

    July 20, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  2. Buyer's Remorse

    Let me know how you guys feel about this idea:

    Why don't we cut the salaries, pensions and benefits that our politicians enjoy? They have the BEST health care plan in the country (far better than anything we will ever have), they have terrific salaries which they will continue to get even after they leave office (for the rest of their life), and they get many benefits. We will be paying for secret service protection for George Bush (both) for the rest of his life, we have to pay for Nancy Pelosi to fly in a private jet from California to DC every week, and so on. Could you imagine landing a job in DC when you live in California, and they agreeing to fly a private jetliner out to you to transport you there and back every week? Of course you can't. And WE are paying for her to do that! The politicians are the modern world royalty, and that has to change. How the world's largest economy be in such financial trouble? We are being sucked dry from the inside by the politicians. Let's scale back THEIR benefits first! The citizens are the ones with the power, and we need to stop listening to wonderful speeches made by politicians and start voting for honest people.

    The best job you can get these days is that of a politician! They get in office and vote themselves higher salaries, etc. We need to wake up.

    July 20, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  3. Buyer's Remorse

    Instead of quickly throwing an expensive and risky program in place at the drop of a hat, we should explore fixing our current system. The problem lies with the insurance companies. Why do we allow them to continue their unethical and outright pirate-like practices? These companies are posting billions of dollars in profits by finding ways to not pay for medical care. They would still make tidy profits if they would pay out. They just got greedy along the way. Universal healthcare also would screw our doctors in a big way. Most of them take out several-hundred thousands of dollars of debt just to make it through medical school (not to mention many years of schooling). The hard work and serious loans it takes to get through should be rewarded financially once they get to practice, as it was an investment.

    If we make healthcare universal, then we have to make universities free as well. We talk about European countries who have universal healthcare. What we don't talk about is that college is free there. Period. That means you can go to college and medical school, and not have to worry about finding a high paying job to pay the debt back. The only problem with that system is that I have met doctors and lawyers there who sell fruit on the street b/c there aren't enough professional jobs to go around. We need to sit down and think about this before we rush into something head on. Let's put our party affiliations aside and tell the current president to Slow Down and think!

    July 20, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  4. MichaelAlmighty

    The money has got to come from somewhere and since the only ones with it are the RICH SHAKE EM DOWN. WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. Find where the SOBs are hoarding their MONEY stashes that they acquired through exploitation and put it to good use for a worthy cause. MONEY for the NEEDY not the GREEDY! NOW NOW NOW RIGHT NOW! ENOUGH TALK AND SQUAWK!

    July 20, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  5. Alan Belis;e

    The problem with health care is health insurance. As long as there are for-profit corporations sucking up our health care dollars for the benefit of their stockholders, health care is going to cost too much. The only way to make health care affordable and available to everyone is to pay the health care providers directly. But just try to accomplish that with half of congress in the insurance corporations' pockets.

    July 20, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  6. Bruce Hoff

    I have worked and paid taxes since age 14. At age 53 my health started on a steady decline until I was no longer able to hold a job. Health care has taken every dime I worked for and now has my wife (also in poor health) and me struggling between taking needed medication or eating. The American way of life has instilled the ideals to help those that need help and support our country. We have been unable to exchange a gift for two years, but we share the love we have for each other and our family. Many folks are far worse off than we are, so we continue to help others as best we can.
    Our medical system has ruined many middle and lower class families and continues to leave folks without proper care. If someone is fortunate enough to enjoy a comfortable income they should care enough to give back to those that keep them in their comfortable lifestyle. You can't blame doctors or hospitals when their expenses are driven up by insurance companies. Why is it that medications continue to ramp up in cost though cost of R&D have been met?
    Many folks face the same situation of not being able to afford medical insurance or medications just to sustain their life at a level that keeps them productive and dignified.
    Like it or not Mr. Obama's message "Share the wealth" is a moral obligation. If you have it be thankful and help someone who doesn't. Your wealth will not suffer as the money winds up back in your pocket anyway and you will feel better for having helped a fellow American.
    Target the real problem; bad medical insurance companies and big business' that self insure so they can screw employees out of care programs. There is no recourse or oversight for self insured companies.
    People who take and don't give back are no better than the Wall Street blood suckers that are finally facing their crimes against the American people.
    Remember if you step on people to climb to the top, you will probably have to face them again on the way back down.

    July 20, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  7. Marlene

    We can forget the Repub/Dem thing. Our leaders need to get back to the "care for country" our forefathers George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson had. Country first and that means the people first. President Johnson had that care in 1965 when he legislated medicare for "a GREAT society." Could our leaders, including the Repblicans, just care about the 320 million Americans.

    The surplus left by Clinton was eliminated very quickly with the tax cuts for the wealthy by W. W. left our country in dire shape. Obama is for CHANGE. Please Congress don't let him down now.

    July 20, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  8. Sally

    For years the government has been trying to fix healthcare. Remember the HillaryCare attempt that didn't work?
    We truly need to put mudslinging aside. I am sick of this Democrat vs Republican thing. Let's not kid ourselves, this legislation will impact everyone, not only the rich.
    Here are several questions we need to ask:
    1. Can anyone name one country where nationalized healthcare has been successful, and most people are happy with their care?
    2. Will this proposed healthcare legislation lead us to rationed healthcare?
    3. Have all our lawmakers actually read the proposed healthcare legislation?
    4. Will the lawmakers have the same healthcare as the rest of America? If not, why not?
    5. Will this proposed healthcare legislation increase the deficit?
    If you are comfortable with your answers to these questions, then by all means I can see why you would like to rush this legislation through.
    I am not comfortable at all with my answers to these questions. Therefore, I believe we need to take the time to do it right.

    July 20, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  9. Doug Ft Myers, Fl.

    Of course the wealthiest among us have an obligation to help those less fortunate. We need a sliding scale type of system, I think anybody making less than $30,000 not living at a parents home should pay ZERO taxes. All you people making over $250,000 a year think about this; somebody has to work at McDonalds, 7-11, the grocery store etc. These are human beings, not losers, they are hard working Americans who need a break from our current system of "ride the little guy". By his own words Mitch McConnell was lucky to have gone to a health care facility founded by FDR, which may have saved his life. So now after 25 years of his own Gov't paid health care, Sen. McConnell wants to deny that same health care to 47,000,000 Americans. He should be impeached.

    July 20, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  10. Nancy Morsillo

    Absolutely, ......taxes should be taken back to pre Bush levels and used to help those that do not have health care.
    Medicare for all, price controls on doctor salary, prescription drugs and hospital costs. Where is the US congress? Why are the Republicans and special interests allowed to be bought off by the medical industry? More exposure of what is happening behind the scenes would help to sway public opinion to get health care.
    Most people are not aware of the health care "Machine".

    July 20, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  11. elizabeth

    Yes, we need this fair and balanced system including the government option. People changing jobs, losing jobs and employers will all benefit. The ability to focus on preventative medicine will allow the US to compete with statistics where care is better for all. As to taxing the rich, please consider all the tax cuts this group received in the past 8 years.
    Also consider that the corporate tax rate is high but that the majority of companies never pay anywhere the maximum rate. Would it not be better to have a healthy population rather than one where disease is rampant. Better care will allow lower costs eventually for all.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  12. CCB

    Yes, Michael lets put the Congressional members on the same healthcare system that we are on maybe they would put a better bill forward!

    July 20, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  13. Debra Coombs

    Taxing the upper income who have had all the tax breaks is a good idea. Excuses were made about reform back in the 90's, when everything was going good. So raising taxes is always the issue. Our leaders had no problem in finding the money for 2 wars. People in this country are suffering, but we find the money to dump in foreign countries. We have a president who has been right on with the issues that matter, Healthcare, The Economy and Education. He has been on top of everything and has done more in his 5months dealing with this mess,( that was created by the previous adminstration )and all we hear is constant road blocks about taxes. Congress has wonderful healthcare, why can't we.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  14. Marlene Adams

    Health care must be changed and now. I have heard this discussed all my life and nothing ever changes. NOW is the time. I would be so happy to pay additional taxes to provide coverage for all Americans. The Republicans are so self centered and believe in the best for them along. Please don't let this opportunity for change pass this time.

    Marlene

    July 20, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  15. Michael

    If this plan is so great, why are our politicians exempt, and will continue their privileged care?

    July 20, 2009 at 8:34 am |
  16. Emily

    The "wealthy" targeted for yet more taxes are generally hard working people who have invested many years and much effort in the jobs and businesses they have. They are not responsible for the health care costs for the nation. Everyone needs "skin the the game" with responsibility and accountabity for their use of health care and their health as an individual. I would like to see taxes on consumption in a way that promotes healthier living while preserving personal choices: cigarettes, alcohol, non-essential and non-healthy food items like sugar drinks, chips, candy, cookies, cakes etc... this is fair since we all make choices about how we consume and it will lead to decreased obesity and diiabetes in the country, thereby further reducing health care costs.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  17. Sandra Crawford

    We do have wonderful health care. It is not perfect and must be improved. We shouldn't be "throwing away the baby with the bath water." We need to find ways to improve the current system. The current House plan and seemingly the Senate plan will be untenable. It is obvious that many employers currently providing their employees with health plans will opt out in favor of the less expensive government plan. Hardworking Americans that have worked hard for these benefits will not be happy with a government program. The government has not got the wherewithal or experience/expertise to handle this deluge of subscribers. All this adds up to inefficiencies and "do overs" which increase costs. The number of subscribers will be higher than the Administration is projecting. Another issue is why aren't our legislators going to be on the government plan? It seems that if they thought the plan was good it should be good enough for them. I think we are going to see an increase in "concierge medicine" where people that are able to afford it will hire doctors while the huge middle class will be paying large amounts of taxes and consequences in order to provide medicine for those that are not currently covered. That is the rub: how can we provide coverage to those people. To reduce health care costs we must also address tort reform. The Obama administration is suffering from tunnel vision. The costs of this will be huge and the outcome will not be satisfactory to a majority of Americans.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  18. John

    Definitely!! They've had 8 Years of Tax cuts while the rest of us shouldered the burden!!

    July 20, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  19. Lisa Bee

    What they need to look at is the way we are FORCED to take unwanted healthcare. For instance ~ When a woman finds a lump in her breast they force her to get a Mammogram whether she has insurance or not and then AFTER the mammogram finds a lump or even if it doesn't they then tell her she can have an ultra sound which is more accurate and does NOT put radiation into her body causing her to get cancer whether she had it or not.
    Why would anyone trust our government to manage health care when it is allowing genetically modified food into our food system? It has been proven in this country and others to cause type 2 diabetes, cancer, asthmatic like symptoms, heart disease, allergies to the point of death, kidney, liver, and other organ failure. WE THE PEOPLE WANT GMO'S BANNED! Instead Monsanto is now trying to control the wheat market and that means millions of people will NOT be able to eat wheat!!!!!! Watch the economy go down some more. Until there is a ban our economy will just keep going down. I know that no one cares how much the wealthy lose in this bad venture!!! While the media like CNN keeps the toxicity of GMO's hush hush, we do not.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  20. MC

    I completely disagree with taxing the "rich" for healthcare. First of all, a household earning over $300K is not "rich" especially in today's economy. Second, people who earn over $200K or more a year usually have made tremedous sacrifices on their life to achieve their level of success and should not be penalized for doing so. Should they pay more taxes than an individual earning $30K per year? Of course.

    However, I don't think it would be fair to tell a doctor who sacrifices 10 years of their life in training, takes on $220K in student loans, and puts off earning money for a living until their 30s to know give up what they've worked to hard to earn.

    If Obama wants to socialize medicine, then make medical school free like they do in Cuba and other socialist countries and forgive the current student loans 90% of doctors are still paying the gov't.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:29 am |
  21. Granni G

    Robert Reich says it well: "to say out loud, as the House has just done, that those in our society who can most readily afford it should help pay for the health insurance of those who cannot is, well, audacious. There's another word for it: fair. "

    Over $ 1 trillion in red ink and 4,500 dead Americans later, – tens of thousands wounded, maimed and scarred -, suddenly the fiscal cost of caring for American lives becomes the becomes the most important issue in the debate and the CBO report on the cost of the proposed healthcare reform is gospel. When that same CBO reported what cost of the war in Iraq would be – a sum twice as much as healthcare reform – these Republican Congressmen and conservative Democrats didn't make a whimper!

    It is worth noting that the Congressional Budget Office's assessments have often proven to be highly inaccurate in the past, and it always makes cautious assumptions, because it is institutionally skeptical of new ideas.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  22. Carolyn

    Even Russia is providing better healthcare for pregnant women, especially the marginalized. They value their citizens, all of them!

    July 20, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  23. Clark Chambers

    We don't need any government health care.
    We do need tort reform for the medical industry.
    We do need to stop paying for illegal immigrants health care.
    These two actions would significantly lower health care costs.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  24. Steve Fulton

    This whole healthcare reform package is another way for the government to try and control us, and we can not allow this. This goverment is suppost to be for and bt the people and more and more we see our voices going unheard and control being placed on us. We the people have spoken and we do not want this government control healthcare reform package, so why are they continuing to push this on us. I'm sure there are many other ways that we can deal with healthcare in America and this is not one of them. The tax hike on the wealthy is not fair at all and we talk all the time of not discriminating and yet here we are doing just that. I say go back to the drawing board and come up with another way and don't always pick the first choice when there are others out there. People work hard for their money and they should not be penalized for it. This just isn't right and certainly not fair at all. Where are the brains behind all of this and why can't we come up with another idea besides this one.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  25. John

    I fully agree on taxing the ultra rich to pay for the health care for every one. Stop this talk of rewarding the rich, blah blah.. We are a human family. Sometimes the big brother has to make some sacrifices for the younger one.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:26 am |
  26. Carolyn

    Ask someone about their Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

    They dictate how long you need to be hospitalized and what medications you can have, no matter what your doctor says.

    These patients they are left in ERs for long periods of time, sent to another part of the hospital and virtually ignored.

    Doctors must follow regulations regarding their patients' treatments that are not beneficial plus they are paid very little. Some very good doctors will no long accept patients with this type of insurance. That leaves the patient little choice for a healthcare professional.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  27. Evelyn S.

    YES. A new relatively small tax on the wealthy should be one of the strategies to meet the costs of universal health care. After all, the wealthy folks have plenty of tax dodges and loopholes, and can afford to pay an increasingly fair share! The entire health care system needs to be reformed to eliminate waste, but we cannot afford right now to LET THE PERFECT BE THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD. Congress needs to step up and pass this bill, even if it may be a work in progress. Our sick economy needs health care reform as much as it needs regulation of the financial sector.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  28. CCB

    "Read the Bill" Excessive Gov't Waste! Healthcare needs to be addressed but we can definitely put a better bill forward..our congressmen and women really need to sit down and read this bill and put the best bill forward that they can. This bill doesn't even address a lot of the root causes of excessive healthcare spending.. When will Congress know that the pork in these bills for the building of playgrounds, subsidizing farmers markets and street light projects will NOT fix healthcare in this country! And higher taxes will wind out hurting small business!

    July 20, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  29. Lynn

    This whole health care plan scars me (the rich aren't the only ones going to pay for this plan you better believe it). Obama is trying to pass everything at a rate of speed beyond belief, he'll be remembered as the president that ran out of ink and a country under thumb – stand back and take a good look at what is happening. Sit back, relax on issues things should fall into place instead of having his way all at once.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  30. sandy nj

    Yes, I firmly believe that people making over $350,000 a year should help pay for health care that is sorely needed, by having their taxes raised. During the Bush administration the rich got richer and the middle class got poorer.
    They can take some of those profits to pay for health care. Costs of health care are hurting everyone in the pocketbook. It's been put off long enough and will be put off for another 40 years if the Republicans have anything to say about it!

    July 20, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  31. Marcus Solorio

    Absolutely!
    Given the various ways that taxes are legally avoided by businesses and the tiered amounts as proposed, it appears to be a fair increase.

    This ridiculous idea of the government getting between you and your doctor is pathetic! If you have insurance that you like, you can continue to pay for it. Moreover, I can't believe that anyone who finally gains access to healthcare by this government program will view it as, "the government getting in my business!"

    Fellow Americans, this is our opportunity to improve the quality of life for a HUGE portion of our population! Wake up and realize what is at stake!

    July 20, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  32. Jenny Mummert

    Health care was a major issue when I voted during the presidential election. I'm confident America's "wealthy" will adjust to a tax to help fund health care, just as they have adjusted to the numerous tax breaks they receive; however, I think the income level should $500,000.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  33. Carolyn

    What happens when the rich have a reversal of fortune–think Great Depression.

    WE NEED HEALTHCARE INSURANCE REFORM, NOT HEALTHCARE REFORM!

    July 20, 2009 at 8:19 am |
  34. r smith

    In very high tax and cost of living state like New York, people making 280k a year are not rich and already shoulder a huge tax burden (and don't have the loopholes that the very rich use).

    Just wait until the administration keeps lowering the income levels of who they consider 'the rich' in order to pay for more spending programs.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:19 am |
  35. D Wicks

    The upper class has enjoyed the profits of stagnant labor wages, and tax benefits for several years. While I dislike the idea of singling out certain economic groups for taxation, with the demise of the middle class the burden lies upon those who benefited most during the 80's, 90's and Bush administration.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  36. Dave Burns

    Of course the President's polls are down. 25% dissaprove because he is trying to fix Healthcare, 30% are angry he isn't doing enough to fix healthcare.
    WE are going to pay for Healthcare or people will suffer and DIE.

    The question is do we want to pay for it in an organized effecient way like Single Payer or at least Public Option, or go on with the Unorganized Costly Trillion Dollar GiveAway to the INSURANCE COMPANIES and their Stockholders on Wall Street.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  37. Taxpayer

    So, let me get this straight – we should penalize people who have earned a living to pay for health benefits for people who haven't work and just sit around taking advantage of every handout this lame President wants to dole out? How does he sleep at night?

    July 20, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  38. Joseph Gillis

    I am a Democrat and I want the President to stop pushing Health Care reform. He keeps pushing Congress to pass legislation to fast.....I mean the stimulas some didn't even read the bill. How can our country continue this, it is like Congress is working for the President instead of the Citizens. Congress is an equal branch of Government, and Need to grab that power back. Also state Senators and Congressmen have a voice in our country. It is not the United Federation of American instead it is the United States of America. We need them to slow down this spending.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  39. Marie

    The Obama Health Care plan is deeply flawed. His two pronged purpose fro trying to get it passed is to cover ALL uninsured in this country–it will not accomplish tat. It will still leave millions uninsured.

    His second point is to reduce costs and make it more affordable. The CBO put the squash on that theory.

    Most disturbing is that Obama is purposly ignoring the CBO estimates because it does not fit in his agenda, to get a bill passed–any bill, regardless of what the people in the country want. He will essentially jam this down our throats. We will get what HE wants whether the public wants it or not. If that is the case, all of Congress and Federal workers should be mandated to sign up first for whatever they force on us. If it isn't good enough for them, it shouldn't even be considered for us.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  40. Michael

    HELLOOOOOO,
    When do politicians figure out. that by raising taxes on the wealthy, if affects the lower social classes?? Go ahead, raise my taxes, I just fire another Obama supporter. That's my budget reform plan. Every the government does something else to take my money, I look for obama stickers on employees cars, and start terminating employment. I will not suffer, but lots of others will.. Go ahead Obama, raise my taxes, and the poor people you supposedly cae about, will suffer the most. By the way, I am not the only employer that supports my plan. To date, it has resulted in at least 60 employment terminations in this small town..

    July 20, 2009 at 8:13 am |
  41. Kevin

    NO Matter the cost, every US Citizen should have access to affordable healthcare. To argue the cost is missing the point. If we can't spend for healthcare, then why spend if for Police, Fire, and Military? WE must be taxed for those and some would argue them unnecessary or in some cases ineffective depending on where you live. Cut the military budget and fund this bill. Tax where necessary. Flat Tax if necessary. Peace of mind has a price.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:13 am |
  42. Carolyn

    No, the rich nor anyone else should be taxed.

    Healthcare reform should be as the name implies "reformed" and have in place measures to make it self-sufficient.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  43. Marko

    What I dont hear from the administration or pro-tax the wealthy supporters is the fact that millionaires in the US has dropped recently.

    What will happen if their calculations on tax revenue are off because the recession has reduced the number of families and individuals making over $350,000 annually?

    Will the middle class have to step in and cover the costs like usual?

    July 20, 2009 at 8:11 am |
  44. Travis

    I approve of the tax... We're all in this together. If you can afford it, pay it.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:09 am |
  45. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    All i can says is in counties that have a public healthcare system their people can get help, the first thing we do is ask ourselves can we afford to live, now how sad is that!

    July 20, 2009 at 8:07 am |
  46. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    Why are the Republican always on the side that says that we can not achieve the goals of the people, when the people want them! I am sick and tired of being told, by Republicans that we can not have something better, and that we should be afraid of change. We change and everything around us changing all the time, they need to stop tell Americans not to strive for better days!

    July 20, 2009 at 8:03 am |
  47. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    If the rich do not want to pay their fair share we should stop buying their goods, lest we how long their business last then, as long as i can feed myself and my family by hunting be just fine!

    I still think thing were better before people gathered together in towns there was far less stupidity in the wolrd and people were able to take care of themselves before our awful society came into being!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  48. M Nevin

    In a word, YES – Tax the rich to help support universal health care.

    And this debate should start acknowledging that the countries with public health insurance, such as the oft quoted UK, still have very prominent private insurers. It has not been a case of either or as the insurance lobby here wants people to believe.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  49. D. Orr

    Granni G.
    I don't have any problem having the rich pay their fair share.
    Use it to pay the deficit.
    Keep the tentacles of gov't out of my medical decisions.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:49 am |
  50. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    The rich must taxes on every penny that they earn, just like the rest of us, no more tax breaks! That is why our services are falling apart, they were never fully funded in the beginning!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  51. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    We can not keep giving the very rich all the tax breaks in the world, and keep the same level of services that we have, as you can see they are falling apart at every level of our government! So the rich must finally pay their fair share!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:46 am |
  52. Shirry

    To D. Orr,
    Well D. Orr, once the governmnet run healthcare system has diagnosed the health issue, the Canandians can come to the U. S. to obtain the "life saving procedures". The Americans, just die not having had the opportunity to see a doctor at all.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  53. Granni G

    Let’s be clear. 98.7% of Americans would NOT be affected by the “tax increases”. That 1% of richest Americans that would be affected, received $715 billion in Bush tax cuts 2001-2010- $518,000 per household. The purposed “surtax” to pay for health care is a mere 1% on households making from $350,000 – $500,000 per year, a mere 1.5% from there to $1million, 5.4% those making over $1million. This is an old tired game – lower taxes of the rich then scream “tax increase !!!” when even some small amount of equity and restoration to prior standards is attempted for any reason.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:43 am |
  54. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    Companies are funny if they have no customers, they will have on employee and in the end they will lose their companies! LOL! Now that would be nice, since they are so stingy!

    In the End all business are about the people who buy their products, and work for them, if companies keep thinking that they can keep shorting the people they will lose everything and go out of business!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:43 am |
  55. albert binder

    I work in healthcare and I have friends in Canada so I can make this observation. Unless you are rich, the care you get in Canada is not worse then what you get here.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:41 am |
  56. carmen molina-vergara

    End the war !! there is were the money is wasted instead having a good health system for everybody. Yes, the riches ,who has the power in this country, should ,for concience , pay more. Some of them have so much money that they don't know what to do with it.
    Where are the voices of the good riches to speak out in favor of these taxes? They have to think about the rest of the people, those who keep this country up.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  57. D. Orr

    Orion Webster is right on the money,
    the national debt is somewhere around 13 TRILLION dollars.
    the federal gov't spends money like a teenage girl at a mall with moms credit card.
    They can't even manage a budget and now you want them to manage your health...get real.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:39 am |
  58. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    Can any of you afford to pay for everyone one who walk into your yard, just because their government's are corrupt, and the people who come here refuse to fight back against their government's corruption. But yet they come to American and demand right when they are here illegally, does anyone else think something funny is going on! why can't they stand up for what is right in their own country, they have a voice, they should use it at every opportunity, we do ans i have and will continue to voice when thing are wrong, and not run to another country fix what is wrong at home!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:37 am |
  59. albert binder

    No group of taxpayers is being singled out to pay for "healthcare for everyone." The middle class have long been footing the bill for everyone. It is time the wealthier are taxed (the same) as the middle class is and without all the loopholes. Don't tell me we can't afford these healthplans – ridiculous!!! Look at all the useless things that this huge deficit brought us and you tell me that was better then having healthcare for all our Citizens?

    July 20, 2009 at 7:37 am |
  60. Orion Webster

    OH COME ON!!!!

    IS AMERICA SERIOUS HERE???

    We are not going to solve the issue here by rushing into health care and throwing money it a system that barely works now. And since we are talking about health care here, let me give you something to think about. My fiancee is a nurse and has given me the primary concept used in health care, and I quote:

    "Medical professionals primary focus is on the 'cause' of the problem and not the symptoms. The symptoms help to find out what the cause is, but that is not their primary concern."

    Health care will not function under the Obama-Biden-Clinton babble. The ACTUAL cause of our health care problems is not the cost of health care. Now bare with me. If we spend billions or trillions of dollars to create a socialist health care, we will slide into EXTREME debt. And it will not get better. And if you think that the rich will be the only ones to be taxed, then you are seriously RETARDED. We ALL will be taxed on this. It will start on the rich and then be forced onto all of us. So what is the cause?

    It is TWO things. FIRST, the overspending in our government needs to stop. Stop spending on useless programs. Stop giving money to other countries. I think that our government officials pay needs to be cut in half. The SECOND problem we need to focus on is the NATIONAL DEBT. When this goes up, inflation increases, taxes increase, education costs increase, etc, etc... But how does this affect health care? Doctors education is over $100,000. Nurses are $40,000 to $90,000. They need to pay that debt off and get paid for their services. Hospitals need supplies, but inflation makes things expensive. What about the electricity and emergency services? All of this needs to be paid off. And the sole foundation of all these costs is the NATIONAL DEBT. Now, do you really believe that adding more debt and giving the government more power over your choices is the right way to go? Is it the right direction in solving health care?

    USE YOUR BRAINS AMERICA and WAKE UP!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:31 am |
  61. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    What since does it make to ensure non-citizens who may be here illegal, when you can even to the basics to help your own people! America has gone down right stupid, when all your resources are gone everyone falls!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:30 am |
  62. Konrad Kuczak

    Premature death and debt slavery because of health care costs are not dilemmas the wealthiest taxpayers will ever have to confront. The 2% of U. S. Taxpayers who earn 20 % of the income in this country should gladly pay a small fraction of their incomes to insure that everyone in this nation has the same opportunity to medical treatment.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:29 am |
  63. Shirry

    The Congressmen should give up their healthcare coverage until a healthcare bill is passed. Maybe that would inspire some urgency. I understand the need for debate, it is a vital part of our system. However, in the weeks and months they take to debate, how many people will die from the lack of healthcare. How elitist of them to sit and decide who is worthy of medical care and who isn't. Interestingly, Congress has always found a way to pay for a war, but not to educate our children and provide healthcare for our people. No, they shouldn't tax employer sponsored healthbenefits. That's a double dip. It doesn't appear they understand how much the American people are paying for their coverage and how it affects their household. Further indicates how out of touch Congress is with the American people.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:29 am |
  64. D. Orr

    If government run health care is so great, why do canadians
    come to the U.S. for care.
    Because they don't want to die waiting for some gov't flunky deciding
    if they really needed that life saving proceedure.
    Say no to ballooning the federal gov't and say no to letting them make health care decisions for me and my family.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:28 am |
  65. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    All you really have to ask anyone can they pay out of pocket, for healthcare if they can't there needs to be a public healthcare plan, kissing up to the healthcare companies who have been the real gatekeepers over the last 50 years, along with the greedy pharmaceuticals companies! What sine does it make to charge poor people over 100 dollars for one pill, or injection if you know they are going to die without the medication!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:28 am |
  66. Debra

    Sure, I think the rich should be taxed to help pay for health care reform. They have taken advantage of all of the tax loopholes for years, heck, decades & have not paid their fair share of taxes so why not tax them to help with a great cause like health care reform? I think it's a great idea!! If raising taxes on the rich will get the job done, let's do it.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:22 am |
  67. Marc Block

    While our combined incomes are less than 50,000, I don't think we should single out one class of taxpayers to pay for the sins of our Congress's past. We couldn't afford Sen Rockefeller's health plan, VP Gore's plan, Ms Clinton's plan and now Pres. Obama's plan. Deficit neutral is just two words for the moment. What will happen in two, five or ten years ahead.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:21 am |
  68. Phil Grigg, FL.

    I do believe we need an overhaul of the current health care "Insurance" system, but NOT what Congress is currently proposing. We do not need to tax the rich, or tax employee benefits, or tax any specific class for that mater. We need a full Government provided health “insurance” program that is available to all Americans that should be paid for by all Americans. To me, the only fair was to make sure All Americans pay for a Government health insurance program is to enact a Federal excise tax on un-healthy goods and services such as junk foods (cake, candy, cookies, chips, etc.), most fast food restaurants and many other dinning restaurants.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:20 am |
  69. albert binder

    I agree Eliz.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:19 am |
  70. Tony

    In order to have health care reform, we must first fix the Medicare and Medicaid fraud that currently exists in the system. The proponents against the President's plan, i.e., healthcare providers and institutions, as well as individuals are guilty of this. What are they are afraid of? They are afraid of losing their illegal financial gains.

    Have worked 24 years and the Healthcare System and in the capacity of Healthcare Administration. Get rid of the abuse and we can fix the system.

    Tony in VA

    July 20, 2009 at 7:18 am |
  71. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    If the Republicans are succeed, we will get nothing in the end, and employers will have to fire their employees, just so that can stop paying for healthcare because it will continue to go up no matter what! So either you fix it or it will fail anyway, and then no one will have healthcare, except the very rich who can pay out of pocket!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:18 am |
  72. Tony samuel

    Yes!!!! sad to say it but yes we need to do wutever it takes to get health care reform done i hear way to many nay sayier ( republican) but no type of good answers from them. something is better than nothing. between my wife and I our health insurance for both of us thru my job is $850.00 thats way to much we both work 2 jobs to make ends meet.

    something needs to be done
    Tony
    Weston ,Fl

    July 20, 2009 at 7:18 am |
  73. Martha Verge Dupont

    We need to take great pains to get the Health care right and it can't be done in a rush. We cover most of the poor, many children and the elderly so I don't believe the rush. Lets do this in a thoughtful way and take our time. No one is saying that insurance companys need to make less profit to cut prices and how about Non profit health Ins instead of Gov.?

    July 20, 2009 at 7:18 am |
  74. Fitzgerald, Kankake, IL.

    If the rich do not get taxed on every single dollar that they earn like the rest of us, that would be totally wrong! Anyone in the middle class get taxed on everything that they earn, so why should the rich get a pass and the rest of us who do not have enough money to live day to day, pay more then them as a percentage of our earnings! The argument about the rich creating jobs is just not true, if it were up to the rich we would be back to the days of lords and serfs!

    July 20, 2009 at 7:15 am |
  75. eliz wolfgang

    Regarding health care.
    We are at a crossroad. Lawmakers have been working on this for over a decade and no one has come up with any answers/solutions. We have lawmakers that have been in Congress for over 10 years and still no solution. First thing that pops out of their mouths is “how much?” Forget that!!! Just do it. The People say they want it, but now the people are asking, how much? Your lawmakers (if you want to called them that) doesn’t care what you, the people want, they only want to do what they have been doing for the past 8-10 years, NOTHING. Am I right McConnell, Cantor, Boehner, etc? You know who you are…even the other side? (Democrats)

    The man you place in office eight years ago as President didn’t place much stock in health care. All he cared about was starting a war. TThat cost us our integrity, economy, beliefs, dignity, etc., in the world.

    Now, we have another President who is only trying to get us back to where we need to be as a Country. You wanted him to do certain things and he made promises to you, because this is what you ask of him. But now you have renege on those promises to him. He can’t do it by himself. You asked, how much? Shame on you America. You have to pay the cost to be the Boss. Stand up to what you want, whatever the cost, but be consistent. Stop the whining.

    If raising taxes will get the job done, so be it. But let’s do something.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:12 am |
  76. albert binder

    To Gary Nance: If your healthcare insurance goes "non-existent" because of the economy, then you should also be rooting for healthcare coverage for everyone. By the way, most people that work hard do not
    "make it" and should not be penalized by not giving them healthcare.

    July 20, 2009 at 7:08 am |
  77. albert binder

    I think that having health coverage for everyone in the U. S. A. is so important that, even if it does not pay for itself, we should still not compromise for some watered down version forced on us by lobbyists and corrupt lawmakers. After all, where was the concern when, after Clinton, the Country went from no deficit to the ridiculous amount we now owe. By not having a Government run health care option, the whole thing will not work.

    July 20, 2009 at 6:58 am |
  78. Gary Nance

    Do not add an additional tax to the wealthy, those who work hard and "make it' should not be penalized for succeeding.
    I am not wealthy, I have been downsized. I've been wih my company long enough to "retire." But if they go out of business due to the economy, and it could likely happen, my healthcare insurance will become none existent.
    Then will I have to exhaust all my assets, which are worth $1/4M less than 2 years ago, before I can get healthcare assistance?

    July 20, 2009 at 6:41 am |
  79. Joshua

    Yes we need to do what ever it takes. My mother got pneumonia and was in the hospital for a week, we are uninsured, and we are ruined financially for the rest of our lives. No insurance company will cover her and she will not be able to continue her care because we are too poor to be able to afford to live.

    somthing needs to be done now to save lives

    -Joshua
    Sanford, Florida

    July 20, 2009 at 6:40 am |