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Madam Speaker, there are brand new ways to tax people in this Federal health care bill. According to the Americans for Tax Reform, these new health care taxes will affect everyone. There are at least $700 billion in taxes in this takeover. It taxes small businesses; it taxes individuals.
For the first time in history, Congress is going to require individuals to buy something. If this health care bill passes, citizens will be required to buy government-approved health insurance. If they don't buy that government-approved health insurance, they are going to have to pay a criminal fine. That violates the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the due process clause.
If someone owns a small business, they will be required to pay about three-quarters of the cost of health insurance for their employees, whether they can afford it or not. Employees would be required to pay the rest of the government-approved health insurance, whether they can afford it or not.
The government decides what a person can and cannot afford. Employers and employees who don't buy the government-approved insurance then have to pay this fine. This is a criminal penalty on citizens.
There is also a new tax hike on flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts. Right now people can put as much pretax money as they want into one of these accounts to help pay for insurance. These accounts will get a $1.3 billion new tax. The new government-run health care bill won't let anyone buy over-the-counter drugs out of these accounts. All of the medicines that have been made easier to buy without a prescription are now going to be taxed. Now why, Madam Speaker, would the government discourage people from taking care of themselves and having these health savings accounts?
The new health care bill also makes other legal tax deductions now illegal. This new tax is called the economic substance doctrine. Under this new health care bill, the IRS would be able to decide what a person was thinking when they bought something and they deducted it from their income tax as a business expense.
What that means is my friend Sammy Mahan in Baytown, Texas, buys a new wrecker truck for his tow truck business, and he writes it off on his income tax as a business expense. The IRS would be able to decide what he was really thinking when he bought that wrecker truck. If the IRS decides he bought that new wrecker just to go fishing in it, they won't allow the tax write-off. And the IRS decides what he was thinking, not what he says. In fact, the IRS is presumed to know what he was thinking when he lawfully wrote off that truck as a business expense. These thought police may not approve his lawful tax deduction. This new rule not only penalizes Sammy for his thoughts, it penalizes him for what the government thinks his thoughts were; what Sammy was really thinking when he bought that wrecker truck anyway and claimed that lawful tax.
Having tax thought police is strange enough, but what this is doing in a health care bill in the first place makes no sense. This ought to be in a separate piece of legislation to begin with. Do the taxacrats really think people will go out and have a heart valve replacement just to write it off their income tax?
But there's also more. There is a new tax on medical devices, a 2.5 percent tax on things like pacemakers and wheelchairs and hip replacement devices and new heart valves, lawful tax deductions for medical expenses that will be outlawed under this bill. So the tax thought police could not only deny a tax deduction for that heart valve replacement, but they could turn around and tax that new heart valve as well.
Madam Speaker, people are hurting out there in their pocketbooks and we can't afford a government-run health insurance policy at this time because it costs too much. The people can't afford all these new taxes and seniors can't afford to have a half trillion dollars cut out of their Medicare.
This government takeover of health care is just in time for Thanksgiving. Hopefully the American people won't be the turkey served up on the plate of government-run health care reform.
And that's just the way it is.
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