With the debate over the increasing costs of healthcare continuing, the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday sought to determine whether the tax policy for health care is accomplishing what was intended.
Effectively, the question governing the proceedings was, “Are we getting our money’s worth?” according to committee chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
Until now, the default answer for Congress to the issue of health care tax policy has been tax subsidies, Grassley noted.
“Instead of charging down that path, however, we need to take a step back,” he said. “Too often here in Washington, people try to solve problems by throwing money at them.”
Grassley pointed out in 2005, federal expenditures due to health care tax policy equaled $177.6 billion, and health care tax incentives are expected to cost the government nearly $2 trillion over the next 10 years.
The most expensive single tax policy on health care is the exemption for employer provided health care, which costs the government more than $100 billion annually by itself, added Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the ranking member of the committee.
“This committee has a responsibility to review the incentives in current law,” Baucus said. “We need to decide whether the benefits are worth the costs.”