March 8, 2023
D.C. News | Tea Leaves
  • President Biden, as part of his budget set for release on Thursday, will propose raising and expanding a tax on Americans earning more than $400,000 as part of a series of efforts to extend the solvency of Medicare by 25 years and provide a degree of middle-class stability to millions of older adults. Biden wants to increase the Medicare tax rate from 3.8 percent to 5 percent on income exceeding $400,000 per year, including salaries and capital gains, a move that would likely increase tax revenues by more than $117 billion over 10 years, according to prior estimates in February by the Tax Policy Center. The proposal reopens the fierce political battle that wracked Capitol Hill more than a decade ago when Democrats included a 0.9 percent Medicare tax on earnings and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for wealthier individuals in the Affordable Care Act. (Articles here, here, here, and here)
  • Dozens of advocates for patients and consumers, citing widespread harm caused by medical debt, are pushing the Biden administration to take more aggressive steps to protect Americans from medical bills and debt collectors. In letters to the IRS and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the groups call for new federal rules that would prohibit debt for medically necessary care from appearing on consumer credit reports. Advocates also want the federal government to bar nonprofit hospitals from selling patient debt or denying medical care to people with past-due bills, practices that remain widespread across the U.S. (Article here)
  • The Biden administration is considering detaining migrant families who cross into the U.S. illegally as it prepares to end COVID-19 restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to U.S. officials familiar with the plans. That would be a major reversal after officials in late 2021 stopped holding families in detention facilities. Homeland Security officials are working through how to manage an expected increase of migrants at the border once the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place since 2020 are lifted in May. Detention is one of several ideas under discussion, and nothing has been finalized, the officials said. (Articles here and here)