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New Payroll Tax Marriage Penalty Under ObamaTax (for the “rich”)

Just in time for all those same-sex newly-weds in the state of Washington, the Obama Administration and Democrat-pushed ObamaCare taxes will kick in, taxing married couples as one for the first time since Social Security and Medicare taxes were instituted as “payroll taxes.”

From the New York Times:

Among the most affluent fifth of households, those affected will see tax increases averaging $6,000 next year, economists estimate.

To help finance Medicare, employees and employers each now pay a hospital insurance tax equal to 1.45 percent on all wages. Starting in January, the health care law will require workers to pay an additional tax equal to 0.9 percent of any wages over $200,000 for single taxpayers and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly.

The new taxes on wages and investment income are expected to raise $318 billion over 10 years, or about half of all the new revenue collected under the health care law.

Ruth M. Wimer, a tax lawyer at McDermott Will & Emery, said the taxes came with “a shockingly inequitable marriage penalty.” If a single man and a single woman each earn $200,000, she said, neither would owe any additional Medicare payroll tax. But, she said, if they are married, they would owe $1,350. The extra tax is 0.9 percent of their earnings over the $250,000 threshold.

Since the creation of Social Security in the 1930s, payroll taxes have been levied on the wages of each worker as an individual. The new Medicare payroll is different. It will be imposed on the combined earnings of a married couple.

The NYT article advises us all, that since our employers may not (!) know how much our spouses make, we need to make sure our employers take out enough taxes each pay period or to begin making extra estimated payments on our own.

Heritage Action Endorses Deal on Payroll, Unemployment and “Doc Fix”

Don’t be too quick to call our Republicans “RINO’s!”

Heritage Action for America is part of the family of Heritage Foundation institutions. They have noted the purely political nature of the arguments about the “tax cut extension” and support those Republicans who voted for the recent bill that extends the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits and prevented a huge cut in pay to doctors who see Medicare patients.

The deal comes after House Republicans prepared to move a standalone extension of the tax cuts. That changed the dynamic in two ways. First, President Obama and his allies became nervous about the fate of unemployment insurance benefits if they were not tied to the tax portion. Second, the insistence on “paying for” the extension of a tax cut (i.e., stopping a tax increase) waned. Why? Because allowing Americans to keep more of their own money shouldn’t be offset, because that wasn’t the government’s money to begin with.

Much of the gridlock surrounding the payroll tax cut extension came because Democrat negotiators insisted on preventing a tax hike by implementing a different tax hike.

via Deal Reached on Payroll, Unemployment and “Doc Fix” – Heritage Action for America.

Yes, Virginia (and the other 56 States), not everything in Congress is black and white – or absolutely Conservative vs. not-Conservative.

The final solution to big government is obviously to not only cut growth of government, but to get rid of past growth. We must also face the reality that spending must be cut.

However (you knew there would be a “however,” didn’t you?), the very conservative Heritage Action for America stressed to members of Congress and the rest of us that the best solution at this time was to move in such a way to prevent the other side from claiming victory – and doing so every two months throughout the election year.

Medicare meltdown, Obamacare next

Texas Medical Association held our Fall Conference today, and the theme was the “Calendar of DOOM!” I’m afraid they’re right.

(Since the Bastrop fire was only  a few miles east of the Austin location, it’s sort of unfortunate that the slogan was “Don’t be burned!” The graphics showed lava flow and volcanoes, but still!)

Even if “Obamacare” is repealed tomorrow, doctors and patients are facing huge  changes in the next few months. It’s too late to avoid a lot of these changes, unless Medicare rules are overturned completely.

Docs who didn’t use electronic prescribing have until Nov.1 to file with Medicare for an exemption to avoid losing an extra 1% on Medicare payments next year (it’s too late, trust me).

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have hired private contractors, called Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs), to review doctors’ notes and billings. The RACs make more money if they find more mistakes in the doctor’s office. Errors will be counted as fraud, and fines will be placed. Docs’ will pay up or have their payments from Medicare held, even though they appeal.

All of us who see Medicare patients face a 29.5 % cut as of January 1, 2011.We’ve faced cuts under the inappropriately named “Sustainable Growth Rate” for Medicare (where the more patients are seen, the less doctors are paid because the total spent wasn’t supposed to increase) (see this explanation), but they’ve always been deferred.  Under the “Super committee” legislation that was created under the law that allowed for that last increase in the National debt level, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of this cut goes though.

Doctors have been very restricted in our ability to invest in labs, hospitals, and medical businesses for years. Next year that will be decreased even more. Bean counters, lawyers, anyone other than a physician may own a hospital.

And then, there’s an HMO/capitated managed care plan that was pushed by President Obama and included in Harry Reid’s midnight move to pass “health reform,” called “Accountable Care Organizations.” (Watch this cartoon.)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid published rules yesterday

Remember those examples of ideal hospital systems that President Obama used back when he was selling his healthcare reform?  As soon as the law was passed, and we were able to read it, those systems declined.

During the health care debate, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Health System and Intermountain Healthcare were repeatedly touted as models for a new health care delivery system.

Now, they have something else in common: All four have declined to apply for the “Pioneer” program tailor-made by the Obama administration to reward such organizations.

while keeping costs down. The ACO provision became one of the most highly anticipated elements of the health care overhaul, and providers embarked on a frenzied race to join in as quickly as possible. (via ‘Poster Boys’ Take A Pass On Pioneer ACO Program – Kaiser Health News.)

Stay healthy, y’all!

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