Senate Passes Health Reform Bill With New Taxes on Businesses, Families

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The Senate Dec. 24 passed, 60-39, an $871 billion health care overhaul bill (H.R. 3590) that would increase expand health care coverage to 94% of Americans in exchange for an array of new taxes on insurers, families, and businesses. 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes a 40% excise tax on high-cost insurance premiums, an increase in the Hospital Insurance (HI) payroll tax rate for individuals earning more $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples), and a new $2,500 limit on tax-free employee contributions to health flexible spending arrangements. 

Negotiations between the House and Senate on a conference report may be completed reasonably quickly, as there is a lot of interest in the White House and in both chambers to enacting meaningful health care reform.

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