Sunday, January 03, 2010

Not Quite a Wage Control

The Heritage Foundation issued this summary of what the Senate Health Care bill will change when. Some of these summaries looks suspiciously harsh (such as the one claiming the bill won't allow insurance companies to revoke the insurance from someone who committed fraud). Another, less obviously exaggerated, one caught my eye: In 2012, "Health insurance company employees may not be paid more than $500,000 per year."

I was curious to see how this was worded so I checked the Senate bill where it's listed under Section 9014. The section is strangely worded (of course), making references to deductions and the Section 162 of the 1986 tax code. After consulting that, I got an idea what this clause was actually about.

For one, the change doesn't occur until 2013, not 2012, but that's a minor point. Moreover, the "payment cap" isn't really a cap. It just means that if you make more than half a million a year and work for health insurance provider, you can't take any deductions relating to trade or business expenses (as allowed by the 1986 reform). I don't know how big of an impact this will have on health insurance employees making more than $500,000 a year as I have no idea what their business deductions are, but it's not a wage control.

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