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The Supreme Court Rules: Healthcare Law is Upheld

by Melissa Rager

In a close 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled the healthcare law that was passed and signed into law in 2010 is upheld.  The individual mandate was the key issue that many thought would be overturned based on the oral arguments, but the high court, in their ruling, stated that “Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.”

What used to be defined as a penalty for not purchasing health care when Congress was debating the bill before passage is now defined as a tax, but how exactly the tax will be enforced and collected remains to be seen.   Under the law, the tax does not kick in until the 2015 tax year.

Along with the new tax, Americans for Tax Reform has laid out 20 new or higher taxes written into the healthcare law that have already taken effect or will take effect in coming years.

A few of the increases coming in 2013 include:

  • a 3.8% surtax on investment income for households with an AGI over $250,000 ($200,000 if filing single).  This is in addition to the capital gains rate increasing from 15% to 20% and the qualified dividends rate increasing from 15% increasing to a top marginal tax rate of 39.6% when the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year.
  • an increase in the employee portion of the Medicare payroll tax from 1.45% to 2.35% on wages over $250,000 if married ($200,000 if single).
  • medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of AGI are deductible as an itemized expense until 2013 when the threshold will increase to 10% of your AGI.
  • a hidden “tax” for increased compliance costs.

While the Supreme Court has ruled, the debate surrounding the law will extend into and beyond the November elections.  The Republican controlled House of Representatives has already scheduled a vote on July 9th to repeal the entire law and the law will immediately become one of the most talked about issues during the presidential campaign.  What is currently the law of the land may or may not be the law of the land in 2013.  In the meantime, the increased taxes and compliance costs are still on the books and will need to be planned for accordingly.

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