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Cathey Park of Cambridge, Massachusetts shows her cast signed by U.S. President Barack Obama after he spoke about health insurance at Faneuil Hall in Boston October 30, 2013. The writing on the cast reads,
It's enough to make you love the law.
With very little fanfare, Obamacare just raised $72 million from health insurance companies. To be more precise, it raised that money from health insurance company CEOs by closing a tax loophole.
For decades now, the United States has limited the corporation tax deduction for executive pay to $1 million for the company's top four employees. That deduction cap, however, excluded performance bonuses, creating a massive loophole allowing companies to pay their top employees more than $1 million without facing a higher tax burden.

Obamacare quietly changed the rules for health insurance executives. It lowered the cap to $500,000—and, in that amount, now includes all forms of compensation. The health insurers' regulation also widens the scope of who it hits: while the general deduction cap only applies to the company's top four employees, the Obamacare rule hits any executive earnings more than $500,000.

That's how much was raised just from the 10 largest insurance companies, and just 57 executives. So this estimate is likely underestimating how much was raised by the law. While $72 million is a tiny drop of the bucket in terms of the federal budget, for health care alone, it's a good chunk of money.

Imagine how much the government could raise if it closed that loophole in every industry. No wonder Republicans hate Obamacare so much; It's working to insure people and it's raising money. What a nightmare for them.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great! (20+ / 0-)
    Imagine how much the government could raise if it closed that loophole in every industry. No wonder Republicans hate Obamacare so much. It's working to insure people and it's raising money. What a nightmare for them.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:36:36 AM PDT

    •  Those who wish to take action might look to (8+ / 0-)


      Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF)is a diverse campaign of national, state and local organizations united in support of a tax system that works for all Americans. It has come together based on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. ATF believes we can start by forcing big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes. Lawmakers need to stop allowing the richest people and companies to have their own set of rules. Closing these special loopholes is the first step in achieving greater tax fairness.
      August 12, 2014  //  Reports
      Tax Fairness Briefing Booklet

      To win the fight for a fairer tax system, we've got to know how to talk effectively about the issues.

      Americans for Tax Fairness' new briefing booklet contains guidance on the most effective ways to talk about the economy and taxes; key findings from polls conducted for ATF, other organizations and media outlets; and fact sheets on key topics like offshore corporate tax loopholes and the estate tax.

      Browse the booklet using the Table of Contents below, or download the full report in PDF format.
      Find them on Facebook and Twitter as well.

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:43:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Once again, Obamacare penalizes success.... (20+ / 0-)

    Great, now we are crushing the incentive for people to work in the insurance industry and provide this extremely valuable service. Insurance companies will have to start turning people away and CEOs will flock to other industries where they can be better compensated...... dictator of an oil-rich nation state, head of a cocaine cartel, or three-time lottery winner.


    •  You left out Investment Banker. (6+ / 0-)

      I wish other Insurance companies also had these kinds of limits.  It just grates on me to think of anyone profiting by decisions refusing to pay for what they're contracted for, like refusing to pay for insurance claims, or when they claim flood damage from a rainstorm or hurricane isn't storm damage.

    •  Another feature of this: along with the medical (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JG in MD, alypsee1

      loss ratio rule, this is going to work against "fat-cat" "heavy-hitter" type of ceos and encourage boards and shareholders to look to new, younger, talented, "ideas" type leaders who can figure out how to make it work in the new regime, i.e. cut costs and improve care. Theoretically the competition for the market in this type of environment should produce the best possible product.

      Of course, I think once they get to that stage they could do a lot better with just going single payer.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:23:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A bit off course eh? (0+ / 0-)

      Dillonfence, shouldn't you be over at Newsmax or The Klansman?

      No country can be both ignorant and free - Thomas Jefferson

      by fjb on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 10:17:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That number is pretty inflated. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer, VClib, nextstep, ColoTim

    The non-deductible comp figure for the UNH CEO, for example, is overstated by $10MM. Actual non-deductible comp is only $7.1MM, while they state that it's about $17MM. They get that figure by incorrectly assuming that stock awards that vest during the year for services rendered in years prior to 2013 are non-deductible.

    Here's their methodology:

    With regard to performance stock awards that vested in 2013, nine of the companies had three-year vesting schedules and so the ACA deductibility limits applied to all of these amounts
    The proposed regs, however, state:
    Remuneration resulting from the vesting or transfer of restricted stock for which an election under section 83(b) has not been made is attributable on a daily pro rata basis to services performed by an applicable individual for a covered health insurance provider over the period, excluding any days on which the applicable individual is not a service provider, beginning on the date the applicable individual obtains a legally binding right to the restricted stock and ending on the earliest of—

    (A) the date the substantial risk of forfeiture lapses with respect to the restricted stock, or

    (B) the date the restricted stock is transferred by the applicable individual

    That's a whole lotta jargon that means that you allocate the equity comp based on days between grant date and vest / delivery date.
  •  Edit the title (6+ / 0-)

    The tax is paid by the corporation, not the CEO. The title should read "New Obamacare tax on CEOs pay raises $72 million from insurance companies".

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 08:18:11 AM PDT

    •  At least the $ are going in the right direction. (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      majcmb1, bear83, TopCat, ColoTim, Tamar, bepanda

      I like that.

      •  But it's paid by the Shareholders, not the CEO (0+ / 0-)

        Is there any indication that the CEO is earning less than the median insurance co. CEO is earning less than he/she did last year?

        Right Direction?

        To the extent that you want to punish the shareholders, yes.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

        by PatriciaVa on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:50:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They should quit throwing money at CEOs (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, PatriciaVa, bewareofme, tb mare

          like drunken sailors if they don't want to be "punished."

          "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers

          by Kentucky DeanDemocrat on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:18:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sure a consequence of closing this loophole... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tb mare, JG in MD

          Will be that companies will think long and hard about executive pay...  I'm not saying they'll never pay out upper-six to seven figures.  I'm just saying that, with the shareholders footing the bill, they'll scrutinize performances and take a look at options, which is how it should be.

          I wonder if there will be any carryover effect...  Many CEO' s serve on the boards of other companies.  It's like a club...  They all sit around making each other - and themselves - richer.  Wonder if a guy with a pay cut might not want to share the pain...  Misery loves company, and if I can't have mine...  One industry probably isn't enough to make a difference.  But, we should definitely see where else the government could do this...

  •  This is a big cap on insurer's tax deduction (6+ / 0-)
    The health insurers' regulation also widens the scope of who it hits: while the general deduction cap only applies to the company's top four employees, the Obamacare rule hits any executive earnings more than $500,000.
    Look at the top 10 executive at Blue Cross NC in 2013:
    salaries at Blue Cross of N.C. include:
    President & CEO Brad Wilson:$3 million
    Executive Vice President Maureen O'Connor: $1.72 million
    Chief Financial Officer Gerald Petkau: $1.67 million
    Chief Sales and Marketing Officer John Roos: $1.3 million
    Chief Operating Officer Alan Hughes: $1.3 million
    Chief Medical Officer Don Bradley: $1.1 million
    Chief Human Resources Officer Fara Palumbo: $887,000
    General Counsel Nathan Prather: $745,000
    Chief Actuary Patrick Getzen: $699,000
    Chief Information Officer Jogenia Abernathy: $675,000

    That's at just one of about 40 Blue Cross affiliates.

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:04:49 AM PDT

  •  The Affordable Care Act (4+ / 0-)

    one of the many achievements from the brilliant, 21st Century, and greatest version of leadership, President Obama.  

  •  The horror! (7+ / 0-)

    Not only is the law working in that millions now have coverage that previously didn't (myself included btw). But it's saving money in the form of lower rates for the covered (savings may vary by state and locale) and it's actually adding to the national coffers!

    Non snarky, Thanks Obama!

    The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair. Douglas Adams

    by coyote66 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:48:28 AM PDT

  •  I just had an interesting debate (9+ / 0-)

    with a friend of a friend on Facebook about the ACA. It was classic.

    My friend posted a recent medical bill in which she saved $800, thanking Obamacare for care she otherwise would not have been able to receive. He presented himself as a former economy professor, and a quick look at his FB page told me that he was an all-in neo-liberal, down to complaints about how socialism has ruined Argentina, among other free-market tropes.

    His two big criticisms were that 1) Obamacare is increasing medical costs for him and millions of other Americans, citing the "fact" that the premiums for he and his wife have gone up 50%, and 2) that Obamacare will kill two million jobs.

    I posted three links from the CBO and, showing him the statistics on health care costs in general and the report that explains those two million jobs "lost" are really not lost at all; that those are two million people who choose to leave the workforce because the ACA frees them up to do so, and that those two million jobs will still be there - just occupied by two million different people.

    Well, as in any debate with one of these people, he ignored the facts in my links, contradicting them with numbers and statistics that he provided no links or evidence for. That is nothing unusual.

    But what was so hilarious is that much of his argument was based on how he and his wife now pay much more in premiums. I pressed him about where he bought his insurance from, and he admitted he had not gone to the exchange (we live in California).

    I assumed that this was because he was not eligible for subsidies; so I explained that nonetheless he should go to the exchange because his insurance agent/company are obviously not giving him the right information. Some numbers were exchanged, so I was able to deduce what he was paying and it was indeed high. I also assumed that he had a six-figure AGI. If he did go to the exchange, I would almost guarantee that he could find a cheaper policy. He was adamant about the "fact" that millions of "middle class" Americans were going to have to pay higher premiums.

    I explained that "middle class" Americans do benefit from subsidies; a family of four can have an AGI of up to $90K and still be eligible for subsidies.

    Well, much to my surprise, in one of his last comments he let it slip that he was in fact eligible for subsidies (he was trying to deflect my assumption that he was in the upper income bracket and therefore not middle class)!!

    I couldn't believe it - here he is, arguing about how the ACA has been a total disaster, making his premiums go up by 50%, and the whole time he knew all he had to do was go to the exchange and get extremely discounted rates - most likely much cheaper than what he was paying before, and for a better policy.

    He never really explained why he didn't go to the exchange; I assume that since he is an academic economist, he's a guy that has an ideology set in stone. He did say something about not going because he feels that "welfare" should go to people who really need it...or something.

    When I told him it was pretty disingenuous to be basing almost his entire argument on the ACA raising his premiums, when in actuality it had lowered them drastically, he started accusing me of name calling, blah blah blah...

    We ended on a friendly note, agreeing to disagree. But jeezus - in all my interactions with right wingers about the ACA, this one took the cake. A real example of a guy whose rigid ideology has so blinded him that he was willing to spend and extra $5-8K per year for no reason other than not having to admit that Obamacare was a good thing.

    It taught me a lot, this little interlude. There are a lot of people out there who just can't accept that total free market capitalism is a failure. This guy, unlike some other right wingers I've talked to, actually believed himself compassionate. He was offended when I accused him of a lack of such. He's one of these true believers, that only Chicago school economics can lift people out of poverty.

    It seems so ridiculous to me as a democratic socialist. On the one hand, you have an ideology (mine) that simply provides for those less fortunate and guarantees necessities for survival to all people; it's very clear how people benefit from such a system. No explanation necessary. On the other hand, with neo-liberalism, you have to contort yourself into all kinds of shapes, and long paragraphs of complicated theories, in order to explain how, in fact, this ideology actually helps people.

    In architecture, we have a saying: "If it's tough to draw, it'll be tough to build". The same goes true for economic and social policy - it it's tough to explain how it works, then it will be equally difficult to make it work.

    I just couldn't believe that this economist would waste many thousands of dollars just to avoid being proven wrong. Wow!

    Mediocrity cannot know excellence ~ Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:50:23 AM PDT

    •  had a similar argument with a Facebook friend (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, La Gitane, NevadaDem048

      but he & his wife won't go to the exchange because it's a matter of government controlling them. So he complains about his higher premiums while refusing to use the system that would lower them.
      You just can't get anywhere in a rational discussion with these guys.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 11:38:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well I have to give them credit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for at least being somewhat intellectually honest. It would be better, though, if people like this could go one step further and agree that Obamacare is helping people save money on health care, even if they themselves choose not to avail themselves of the benefit.

        Mediocrity cannot know excellence ~ Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:05:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Consistent, yes. Knowledgeable, not so much. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bear83, bewareofme, La Gitane

          I do see what you mean.
          I wonder, over the course of lifetime how many government services he's benefited from. For example -- did he get federally guaranteed student loans for his undergrad and graduate schools (I did, and he's about my age)?
          My bet is that he is unaware of how much the federal (and state for that matter) government has done for him.

          While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

          by Tamar on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 05:40:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  p.s. on the other end of the continuum, my 96 (10+ / 0-)

      year-old MIL is consumed with guilt because of all the things Medicare is paying for. She says "I'm costing them so much!" We keep telling her that she paid in for all those years (though only about 18 years in her case since Medicare didn't exist until she was almost 50) and shouldn't feel bad.
      She pays out-of-pocket for a health aide to live with her, so she actually costs Medicare less since her aide and her children (e.g., my husband who is a wonderful son) keep her healthy and out of the hospital. And she also pays out of pocket for her primary doctor.
      I need to tell her that the Spirit of Medicare considers her a bargain.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 11:46:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My uber-neo-con RWNJ bro is even worse. He is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, La Gitane

      doing without any medical insurance (until he's eligible for MEDICARE...) because he will have nothing to do with Romneycare ACA/Obamacare, and his former BCBS individual policy cost became beyond his checkbook's reach.
      He has some developing medical issues too. He'd rather die for his idiotic ideology than sign on with a commysoshulistfascistpinkoDemocrat anything (did I mention he's waiting for his Medicare?).

      "The church of life is not in a building, it is the open sky, the surrounding ocean, the beautiful soil"...George Helm, 1/1977

      by Bluefin on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:50:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow, that is really something (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluefin, dandy lion

        who does he blame for his insurance being too expensive? Or does he think that insurance is just for rich people? And does he understand that insurance is nothing more than privatized socialism?

        I do not understand this American animosity towards providing a social safety net. It can't be all racism, can it?

        Right wing media has really done a number on our society. Thank goodness that most young people laugh in their faces...

        Mediocrity cannot know excellence ~ Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:09:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You know who he blames. He was fairly well-off (3+ / 0-)

          before the Bush depression took hold and especially hit his biz (is in a Rust Belt area). Self-employed for quite a few years he's paid the double FICA, so wants it back. At least gets part of the SS/Medicare concept- did take SS benefits early too. But all them 'other' are going to bankrupt the USofA...

          Understand? This is a guy who worships Cheney, Bush, Reagan, Romney, Rand, Krauthammer, Kristol, et al ad naseum.
          Some of it is (denied) racism I'm sure.

          He has marinated in RW media for most of his life, his brain is riddled with it (RW ideology is like a prion disease- the CJS/BSE to rational thought). I really expected to see him at the Bundy ranchito, or somewhere like it.

          After years of observing and commenting on this stuff, I still think most 'libruls' and Democrats have no idea how far gone their enemies are.
          There has been some awakening the last few years to be sure. Even Pres. Obama's admin seems to have given up on the 'let's all work together' bullcrap and is getting short with them.

          "The church of life is not in a building, it is the open sky, the surrounding ocean, the beautiful soil"...George Helm, 1/1977

          by Bluefin on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:51:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I love that "phrase" (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bewareofme, Bluefin, La Gitane

            How many otherwise sensible, successful {to a certain level,) "marinate" themselves in the sewer of right wing nut soup?  

            I can really relate to that for just a short while back I visited a successful family member who has a spouse with sever health issues.  I asked about the insurance coverage and that started a rant about "them damn insurance companies are dropping clients like flies because of OBAMA.  

            I try never to get into controversial political exchanges with close family members.  We are people with strong personalities and rather than cause hard feelings I let sleeping dogs lie.  That is until I came  in to have a morning  cup of coffee and found the radio blaring out the spew of none other than Flush Limpa$$.  I reached to turn the noise off when my hosts came in and insisted it stay on.  "This guy is the only on telling it like it is"!  I said  "As intelligent as you both are you should know better!   The man is a farce, a liar, a misogynist and a drug addict and you listen to the crap he spews and think it is factual truth?  He is even worse than Fox Noise."  OOPS!  Looking stunned, they made a sudden turn and left the room.   No more was said and I soon left for home.  

            You have a dollar, and I have a dime, I wonder - could I borrow yours as easy as you could mine?

            by olegar on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:36:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Years of pure propaganda have done lots of damage (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bluefin, La Gitane

            The right-wing media complex, that is Fox News PLUS right-wing hate radio, has brainwashed a significant portion of the american population. 25%, at least.

      •  I'm also starting to think that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        these right wing loons who are so viscerally against Obamacare are not as well off as we think. I bet most of the people on those Koch ads doing the complaining really can't afford health care without the ACA.... that's even more disappointing....

        Mediocrity cannot know excellence ~ Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 02:13:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cain't fix stoopid... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          La Gitane

          (Sherlock was probably too polite to say that (local PBS station just re-ran all of the last three SHM's in a row, urk...))

          "The church of life is not in a building, it is the open sky, the surrounding ocean, the beautiful soil"...George Helm, 1/1977

          by Bluefin on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 06:55:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Beautiful (0+ / 0-)

    It's nice to see the corporate head honchos getting screwed for a change. Let's have more of it!

  •  Thank you for posting this. (0+ / 0-)

    It's nice to read a good-news story just before bed.  :)

    Stephen Colbert does superb satire. Pity those offended by it.

    by VirginiaJeff on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:19:32 PM PDT

  •  I look at the mind boggling salaries (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    these guys earn, like a million a month, and wonder what they do with that kind of money and what kind of contortions they have to go through to justify taking that kind of dough. Aside of plain out and out greed, there is none...

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:24:40 PM PDT

  •  If generating tax revenue was so important then (0+ / 0-)

    why the hell did Democrats leave $2.8 trillion of revenue on the table by permanently extending the Bush tax cuts?  It's not like Democrats didn't spend a decade decrying the fiscal irresponsibility and unfairness of those cuts.

    But hey look, $72 million in new revenue!   Yay.

  •  I think your title needs to be rewritten (0+ / 0-)

    There is no "new tax" on CEOs, is there? The increased collections are from reducing permitted deductions on corporate returns.

    Saying there is a new tax and indicating it is on individuals actually plays into the hands of the Republicans, in my opinion.

  •  T&R'd, bookmarked for community edu! (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for posting this.

    Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. —Nelson Mandela

    by kaliope on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 02:04:28 AM PDT

  •  first I heard..... (0+ / 0-)

    Good on Obama.  Should do it to the bankers too.  

    I will not vote for Hillary..... #38067

    by dkmich on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 04:18:29 AM PDT

  •  Don't worry, they will have their bought and paid (0+ / 0-)

    for Senators and Representatives on Fox News next week whining about this cruelty......

  •  A stent (0+ / 0-)

    ...ACA has restored some small circulation in a system addicted to pork, yay.

  •  Yes!! A drop deductibility of expenses for off ... (0+ / 0-)

    Yes!! A drop deductibility of expenses for off shoring, interest on loans made to pay dividends, bonuses, stock buybacks rather than repatriate offshore cash stashes, limit deductibility of HQ expenses (compensation for all, HQ bldg expenses, etc) to the % of revenue taxed here, etc.

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