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Officials: health care tax hikes for 2013 may be just a start

WASHINGTON (AP) - New taxes are coming Jan. 1 to help finance President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Most people may not notice, since the increases mainly hit high-income earners, individuals making more than $200,000 and couples over $250,000.

But people will pay attention if Congress decides to start taxing employer-sponsored health insurance. That option is in play if lawmakers can ever agree on a budget deal to reduce federal debts. It's been overlooked with all the focus on the political battle between Obama and House Republicans.

About half of Americans benefit from the tax-free status of employer health insurance.

Experts say it's hard to see how lawmakers can avoid touching health insurance if they want to eliminate loopholes and curtail deductions so as to raise revenue and lower tax rates.


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