VAT attack! Will Obama push for a big healthcare tax?

May 27, 2009

The WaPo discovers that a value-added tax would be one way to pay for Obama’s healthcare reform plan. (White House healthcare adviser Ezekiel Emanuel is a big VAT fan and even wrote a book about it.)   Len Burman of the Tax Policy Center describes a VAT this way (in a different report):

A VAT is a tax on consumption, similar to sales taxes levied by states, except that it is collected in stages from each business that contributes to the production and sale of consumer goods. It is universal in the rest of the industrialized world and generally thought to be relatively easy to administer and for businesses to comply with.

Burman, quoted in the article, thinks a 25 percent VAT could plug the government’s budget hole, while one of 10-15 percent could pay for healthcare reform, the story also notes. Burman adds that one of the complaints “leveled at the VAT is that it would be a money machine and fuel the growth of government.” To a great degree, a VAT would be hidden tax since it would incorporated into what we buy.

Also consider this: These estimate of how expensive Obamacare might be could be way low. Indeed, the Urban Institute speculated that the ten-year cost might be close to $2 trillion rather than $1 trillion. That VAT might need to be way higher, gang. Either way, somebody in that 95 percent of us who are supposed to get a tax cut would be paying higher taxes.


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Just read your article “Did the GOP Capitulate on Healthcare”. Specifically with your comment on Utah webportal connector, I wanted to touch base and let you know there is more information about this that can be found at We believe the system designed here with H.B. 188 is a good step in the right direction but not a complete fix. You may find this of interest. Please contact me for details.

Posted by Mike Oliphant | Report as abusive

You might want to take a look at Utah’s oldest online source for health insurance found at This website sponsors much of the online health insurance connector points in Utah.

Posted by Mike Oliphant | Report as abusive

Right now we pay for health care with premiums to insurance companies who take money off the top. If we index health care to 1970 levels and cap costs to this index we can pay for adequate health care. No we cannot continue to pay for transplants, new joints for people who have only 6 months to live and also cannot pay to keep brain dead people alive. Oh, we also cannot pay for elective plastic surgury.

If individuals and their families have money to spend above and beyond the normal level let them do it, but everyone deserves basic coverage.

Posted by fbelz | Report as abusive