By Tom Curry National affairs writer
updated 9/15/2009 10:42:55 AM ET 2009-09-15T14:42:55

Claim: Barack Obama in 2008 signaled that he would not tax employer-provided health insurance.

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For workers, employer-provided health insurance is a form of tax-free compensation. For many workers it is worth between $4,000 and $13,000, annually. Some reformers, including Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., see taxing this compensation as a way to pay for providing insurance to those Americans who are uninsured.

Fact or fiction?
Fact. Obama campaigned as the candidate who opposed taxing employer-provided health insurance benefits. In the Oct. 15, 2008 debate, he criticized his opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for proposing to tax employer-provided insurance. “This is your plan, John. For the first time in history, you will be taxing people's health-care benefits.”

Mammoth revenue source
If all this compensation were taxed, the Treasury would collect $226 billion a year, more than enough to pay for insuring America’s roughly 50 million uninsured.

No need to tax everyone
MIT economist Jon Gruber said taxing families with incomes above $125,000 on their employer-provided health benefits would raise more than $40 billion a year.

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