The Senate bill raises the biggest chunk of its new revenue through a 40 percent tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans -- plans that cost more than $23,000 per family. And that tax, critics say, will trigger a series of changes that will result in billions of dollars in new taxes on the middle class over the next decade.
First, the tax will hit plans widely used by middle-class employees. The majority of workers with the high-value plans are union members and state government employees who are not considered wealthy, even though Obama advisers like to say the tax is aimed at benefits enjoyed by the likes of Wall Street bankers.
‘A lot of those folks that have Cadillac plans have Chevy wages. And that's what makes it, has made it, somewhat controversial and a real issue of contention,’ said Jim Kessler, vice president for policy with the non-profit think tank Third Way.
The tax would apply to nearly 20 percent of all workers with employer-provided health coverage in the country, affecting some 31 million people. Within six years, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, the tax would reach a fifth of all households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually. Those families can hardly be considered very wealthy.
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