The White House Isn't Sure What's In the Health Care Bill


White House flack Stephanie Cutter got her fact check on this morning, explaining to the many devoted readers of the cleverly named White House Blog that, despite rumors on the Internetz, the health benefit information that might show up on your employer-provided tax form next year won't make your income taxes go up. But fact checking is so much fun that it's easy get too excited and go a little overboard. As Julian Pecquet notes at The Hill: 

The White House seems to have taken the rebuttal a bit far. Cutter goes on to make a general statement that suggests the new law will never tax health care plans, which isn't true either. 

"For months," Cutter writes, "opponents of health reform have falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act would lead to the taxation of health care benefits. The claim wasn't true when the rumor first surfaced, it isn't true today and it won't be true tomorrow."

While the W-2 rumors are demonstrably false, the law does create an excise tax on high-cost healthcare plans. Starting in 2018, so-called "Cadillac plans" will be subject to a 40 percent tax on excess benefits.

The White House now says it only meant to address the W-2 rumor, but that just isn't clear from the post. Now, it's possible that Cutter's claim will actually turn out to be right: Given the strong union opposition to the Cadillac tax, it may be that the provision is cut before it comes into effect. But despite Cutter's claim, the PPACA explicitly calls for the taxation of health care benefits starting in just a few years.

NEXT: Reluctantly Defending Paladino

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  1. Don’t worry. They will read it once it has been passed.

  2. The White House Isn’t Sure What’s In the Health Care Bill[.]

    The matryoshka bill – every time you open it up, it pops up a new thing.

  3. The White House now says it only meant to address the W-2 rumor, but that just isn’t clear from the post.

    Let’s cut them some slack – it is so hard to keep track of so many new lies they come up with that they have a difficult time composing a post with something resembling the truth in it.

    1. So true – they can’t even pretend to believe what they are saying anymore. Now resembling my favorite 4 year old nephew trying to talk his way out of a NoNo.

  4. The White House Blog should be called, of course, Oblogma.

  5. When I was at the White House, they called the Internet either, depending on the mood, the National Information Infrastructure or the Information Superhighway.

    Which is a roundabout way of commenting that I’m surprised they don’t call it the White House Bulletin Board or the White House Web Log.

  6. The White House Isn’t Sure What’s In the Health Care Bill

    Shocking, just shocking.

  7. Is that “Cadillac tax” indexed? With the expected hyper-inflation, we’ll all be recieving 50k health plans.
    [and living in our cars]

    1. Americathon? Why that movie isn’t on DVD–no, hasn’t been remastered and re-released in theaters–is beyond me. It’s like crazy prescient.

    2. assuming we still have cars. As I understand it, bicycles will be the approved mode of transport. In Maine. in the winter. (I got this straight from an OFAs mouth)

  8. We had to pass it to find out what’s in it. Just like any other turd. Oh, look! Corn and peanuts. Yea!

  9. Well, Ernie’s image was pretty vulgar … but apt.

  10. Democrats in the Senate sold out their base (as well as the taxpayer) to the health insurance companies.

    They try to sell this by saying that uninsureable risks will be covered in 2014.

    Guaranteed…the health insurance companies will not bear the cost of this. Likely the coverage doesn’t materialize at all.

  11. Oh come on now- the excise “tax” is on Cadillac plans is charged to the insurer, that way the consumer is completely protected and their costs will never, ever go up. Really.

  12. Even they don’t know what’s in the bill… not good.

  13. As I’m sure Bill Clinton would have pointed out, 2018 isn’t “tomorrow”.

  14. So, they had to pass the bill to find out what was in it, and they still don’t know what’s in it?

  15. “Given the strong union opposition to the Cadillac tax”

    Didn’t the unions get an exemption put in for their high-benefit medical plans? (Also, for plans for government employees.) My understanding is that you will only be taxed on your high-cost/high-benefit medical insurance if you’re not a union member and work for someone other than the government.

    (Of course, things were being changed so much toward the end that who knows what ended up in the bill. But that’s my recollection. The unions wanted the tax taken out but were bought off with an exemption from the tax.)

  16. Is it really true that they left some pages blank, even with out the perfunctory “This page is intentionally left blank.” warning, so that they could go back later and write something on that page? Or that they triple spaced some pages so that they could go back and double space them, and write interesting stuff in the extra space?

    I want to squash this rumor right now: It is not true, that believing cigarette smokers die just as quickly with or without filtered cigarettes, and hating cigarette butts left by polluters who don’t love the Earth, that the Health Care Reform Act outlaws filtered cigarettes by 2016. Although the environmentalists really wanted that, because people who hate Mother Earth and throw their cigarette butts everywhere don’t love themselves or their neighbors, and deserve to die. No pressure, their choice. Since I just made this rumor up, I assure it is not true. Or, at least, I really hope it is just my attempt at humor, and really not true. (RJ Reynolds is converting their cigarette filter factory into an adult diaper factory. Using stimulus money, this creates or saves jobs. Adult diapers apparently are not of the same high quality as baby diapers.)

  17. ObamaCare isn’t a law, it’s a bureaucratic Christmas Tree under which gifts can be left for those swearing fealty to Obumbles. The contents seem to vary at will. No wonder they have trouble keeping track of what’s in it.

    Rule of Law; it’s so 20th century.

  18. The thing is, without the Cadillac Tax, the thing cannot possibly come close to the “savings” the WH promised. Granted, those were never going to materialize, but the Cadillac tax was an essential element of the sales pitch, an essential of the CBO scoring and, as a result, an essential element of the house of cards that’s going to be falling down in the next year or so.

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