Congress Sends Obama Health Care ‘Fix’ With $438 Billion in New Taxes

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The House and Senate clear the health care reconciliation bill, which includes $438 billion in new taxes and fees, for the president's signature. The Senate votes 56-43 to pass the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (H.R. 4872), but makes two minor changes requiring a fresh House vote. Senate Republicans discovered two provisions that would violate the Byrd rule, which requires that everything in reconciliation bills have an effect on budget estimates. The provisions relating to Pell Grants are eliminated from the legislation. The House then passes the bill by a 220-207 vote. The reconciliation bill modifies the major tax-related provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub. L. No. 111-148) that Obama signed into law earlier in the week. One of the most significant changes is the creation of a new 3.8 percent Hospital Insurance tax on unearned income for individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and joint filers earning more than $250,000 per year.