This May Hurt a Bit

Congress begins to ask why the U.S. subsidizes insurance coverage for those at the top of the heap

Back in the early, innocent days of Hillary Rodham Clinton's health-care task force, several members urged that the group look not only at what the Federal Government should do to control costs and extend health coverage to the uninsured but also at what it should stop doing. Their most notable suggestion: Washington might limit the tax exemption for employer-purchased health insurance, which costs the Treasury $74 billion a year and mainly works to subsidize generous health plans for the best-paid Americans. The exemption, they argued, fuels overspending on health care and helps drive the cost of insurance beyond the reach of...

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