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November 25, 2009

The Proposed Excise Tax on Employee Health Insurance: Good Idea, or Too Clever by 40%?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and LABiomed, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California (Dr Sessions); Departments of Health Policy Management and Evaluation and Medicine, University of Toronto, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Detsky).

JAMA. 2009;302(20):2252-2253. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1712

The US Senate Finance Committee began formal consideration of its health care reform plan on September 22, 2009. While subsequent media attention focused on the omission of the public option, a potentially transformative component of the plan is a proposed excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health insurance.1,2 In this Commentary, we explain why this proposed new tax represents a major development in health care financing and offer a preliminary assessment.