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Is the Obama health-care law a huge tax increase?

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First is a surcharge of 0.9 percent on the Medicare taxes paid on wages of $200,000 a year for those filing singly or $250,000 for those who are married and filing jointly.

• In addition, there is a 3.8 percent tax on unearned income of over $250,000, such as dividends and capital gains.

According to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, these taxes alone are estimated to raise $210 billion over 10 years or about 40 percent of the new revenue. Since Romney gets most of his income from passive investments, based on his income of $42 million over a two-year period, he would owe an additional $1.6 million.

• Another major tax increase is new taxes or fees on medical devices, drug manufacturers, and importers of medical devices. The Congressional Budget Office estimates this group would bring in an additional $107 billion over 10 years.

• There is also a surcharge on high-cost health-insurance plans, which will be mainly borne by the wealthy. Labor unions, which have given up pay increases for benefit increases, have a short exclusion from the surcharge. Over 10 years, this will raise $32 billion.

• And, finally, the legislation includes penalties on individuals who do not get insurance and companies that don’t offer it. The actual penalties start relatively low – a penalty of the greater of $95 or 1 percent of income in 2014, $325 or 2 percent of income in 2015, and $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016 and beyond. This is expected to raise $17 billion over 10 years from individuals and $52 billion from corporations.

Former chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. John Spratt (D) of South Carolina, says that the idea of the additional taxes on the well-to-do was to even the playing field.

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