An amendment that will be voted on Tuesday in conjunction with a small business bill would undo one of the revenue sources for health care reform, requiring $17 billion of cuts in public health, prevention programs and insurance coverage. The revenue raising measure that the amendment would repeal broadens a requirement for businesses to report payments to vendors of $600 or more, thereby discouraging the underreporting of income by vendors. The expanded reporting requirement is expected to increase tax revenue by $17.1 billion over the next ten years by improving the ability of the IRS to keep track of business income.
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on an amendment by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) that would repeal the reporting requirement, and significantly weaken the health care reform law in the process. The Senate is also likely to vote on an alternative offered by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), which would significantly scale back the tax provision to reduce its scope and its paperwork requirements, but would make up for the lost revenue by reducing excessive tax subsidies and loopholes for oil companies rather than undermining health care reform. A new WCCF blog post describes the Johanns amendment and its implications.