CBS Checks Obama on Distortion of McCain Health Plan

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) continues to accuse Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) of hitting middle-class Americans with a tax increase. The frightening warning: "He wants to tax your health benefits." 

As with any distortion by omission, that leaves out the second half of the proposal: to give you a tax credit as an offset. 

McCain's plan is not a massive middle-class tax hike as Obama portrays it; instead, it's designed to give people a tax credit to put toward choosing their own insurance. 

Kudos to CBS's Wyatt Andrews for his September 15 "Evening News" report (text and video available here) explaining this.

Andrews consulted Len Burman of the Tax Policy Center, who said, "It's mostly a tax break."

"The non-partisan Tax Policy Center says except for the very richest Americans, most people buying insurance will see a tax cut," the CBS report continued.

"Families at all income levels would pay lower taxes, at least on average," said Burman. "On average, it is about a $1,200 tax cut in 2009."

People who currently get health insurance through their jobs are already getting a tax break -- it's just invisible because their employers are the ones paying the insurance premiums. The average tax break for a family under the current system for job-based insurance is $4,200 per year. 

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2008 Presidential Medical Insurance Bias by Omission CBS Evening News CBS online

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