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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #31

September 13, 2011

 

 

 

Vol. 2 Issue 31 September 13, 2011

 

Welcome to the Taxpayer's Tab -- the weekly newsletter for up-to-the-minute research from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's BillTally Project.

Each week, NTUF will bring you updates on the week's most and least expensive bills, the ones with the most cosponsors ("the most friended"), and a few bills we've termed Wildcards -- bills that we think you might find interesting.

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 1200/S. 915, American Health Security Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: $796.726 billion ($3.984 trillion over five years*)

Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-7) and Senator Bernard Sanders (VT) proposed the American Health Security Act (AHSA) to move the U.S. to a type of single-payer health system, similar to legislation examined in the August 23rd Taxpayer's Tab. By establishing state-based health programs guided by federal regulations, the bill would automatically enroll every U.S. resident -- including citizens, nationals, and resident aliens -- into the new program for life. The AHSA would replace all current health care-related federal programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE. State health insurance exchanges established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) would also be repealed.

For consumers, the bill would prohibit any health insurance plan sale that duplicates benefits provided under the program. Services covered in H.R. 1200 include hospital, preventive, long-term, prescription drug, dental, and mental health services. A new oversight board would have the power to add other procedures it sees fit. Doctors and other health providers would be prohibited from charging patients for their services under AHSA. Instead, the federal government would transfer public dollars to states who would in turn pay health workers, professionals, and institutions.

The system would be financed through both new and current funding streams. Health care payroll taxes would be redirected to the American Health Security Trust Fund, which would serve as the program's primary account. New income taxes, surcharges on high income individuals, and securities transactions taxes would be imposed progressively to further fund the new health activities. Based on previous estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), H.R. 1200 and S. 915 would result in a $3.98 trillion rise in federal spending over the Act's first five years (figures adjusted for inflation). First-year costs would total $523 billion with outlays exceeding $800 billion annually in subsequent years.

* This figure is rounded. The full amount is $3,983.63 billion.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 371, Health Care Choice Act of 2011

Annualized Savings: -$30.935 billion (-$154.675 billion over five years)

As an alternative to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Health Care Choice Act would repeal large sections of PPACA and the related reconciliation act that pertain to the regulation of private health insurance plans.

In PPACA's place, the bill introduced by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) would allow consumers to buy health care plans across state lines. Under current law, Americans can only buy insurance within the state in which they reside. Under H.R. 371, legal measures would be instituted to help guarantee consumer protection and fight fraud by ensuring laws will be followed according to the state where the insurance product originates. For example, health insurance bought by someone from South Dakota from an insurer in Texas would remain under Texas law.

According to a CBO report from the 109th Congress, the provisions permitting the purchase of health care across state lines would cost $325 million over five years. The costs would result from an increased amount of Americans who would opt out of or be dropped from employer-sponsored coverage. CBO believed that some of the individuals who are dropped from their current health plans will opt for Medicaid coverage. However, new costs would be more than offset by the repeal of certain PPACA provisions, totaling $155 billion in the first five years.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 589, Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: $8 billion ($16 billion over two years)

Number of Cosponsors: 88 Congressmen

Throughout the ongoing debates over the past year on the budget and the state of the economy, policy makers and advocates have frequently called for an extension of unemployment benefits. President Obama mentioned extending unemployment insurance "to prevent 5 million Americans looking for work from losing their benefits" in his address to Congress last Thursday. Earlier in the year, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-9) sponsored H.R. 589 to extend unemployment compensation until September 2012.

Under this plan, tax dollars would provide dependents with an additional 14 weeks of benefits and would increase the total amount of regular compensation. H.R. 589 would also authorize state governments to choose when to pay out the increased benefits, depending on their own financial situations.

By extending unemployment insurance outlined in H.R. 589, the federal government would spend $16 billion dollars over the next two years. NTUF found an estimate for the bill on Congressman Bobby Scott's (VA-3) webpage. He is a cosponsor of the bill.

Cosponsors include 88 Democrats in the House. One cosponsor was excluded because he is no longer serving in Congress.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


We Want You!

NTUF is looking for fall and winter associate policy analysts to participate in our internship program. Associates assist with BillTally research and other policy projects. Academic credit is possible. Email questions to ntuf@ntu.org. To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!

 

With the new partnership with WashingtonWatch.com, The Taxpayer's Tab will also be changing to help you keep an eye on Congress. To give your own input, opinions, and research, click on the WashingtonWatch.com icon. You will go directly to that bill's page!



The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 870, Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act

Annualized Cost: $100.5 billion ($502.5 billion over five years)


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is up to 9.1 percent: 14 million Americans are out of a job. The figure was unchanged from July and has remained above 9 percent for at least the last four months.

To get Americans back to work, Congressman John Conyers (MI-14) introduced H.R. 870. The bill would impose a new 0.25 percent Wall Street transaction tax on securities sales that can include bonds, common stocks, and derivatives. The revenues -- estimated to total $150 billion each year -- would be used to fund currently existing jobs programs as well as a new state grant program created in the legislation. The program would pay for immediate needs, such as repairing schools and expanding food programs, and also long-term projects including restoring public facilities and providing job training for disadvantaged youth.

According to the bill, 67 percent -- $100.5 billion, annually -- of the collected taxes would be used for the new jobs programs. The remaining amount would provide a dedicated funding stream for existing programs and do not count as new spending under BillTally methodology.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


Missed an Issue of The Tab?

Read them online

Issue 30 - Sept 6
August Snapshot

Issue 29 - Aug 30

Issue 28 - Aug 23

Issue 27 - Aug 18


About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.

 

 



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