What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Insurance Industry : HR 3590. (Health care overhaul) Lincoln of Arkansas amendment that would limit annual tax deductions health insurance companies can take for executive salaries to $400,000/On agreeing to the amendment
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HR 3590. (Health care overhaul) Lincoln of Arkansas amendment that would limit annual tax deductions health insurance companies can take for executive salaries to $400,000/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 365     Dec 06, 2009
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This vote was on an amendment by Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., that would have limited the yearly tax deduction health insurers can take for executive salaries to $400,000 or the level of pay received by the president of the United States. Any savings would be directed to the Medicare Trust Fund. The amendment was offered to a bill that would overhaul the health insurance system, create a public health insurance option and impose requirements on insurance companies.

“When health insurance reform becomes law, health insurance companies will receive millions of new customers purchasing their product for the first time. My amendment is intended to encourage those insurance companies to put the additional premium dollars they will be bringing in with the volume of new customers back toward lowering their rates and making more affordable coverage for consumers, not putting it in their own pocketbooks,” Lincoln said. “This amendment does not dictate what insurance companies can pay their executives. They have the complete ability to pay what they choose. It is not a salary cap. But it does limit the American taxpayers’ subsidization of outrageous pay and, instead, devotes those resources to protecting Medicare.”

Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said “outrageous pay practices of many companies must stop,” but that Lincoln’s amendment isn’t the way to do that.

“This amendment does nothing to empower shareholders to hold the corporation’s board accountable. All it does is hurt shareholders by taking money out of the company and giving it to the government. That is right. By limiting a corporation’s deduction, shareholders are the ones who are disadvantaged, not the corporation,” Grassley said.

By a vote of 56-42, the amendment was rejected. Though more voted yes than no, this particular vote required 60 in order to be considered approved. All but three Democrats present voted for the amendment. All but one Republican present voted against the amendment. The end result is that the measure went forward without language that would have limited annual deductions on executive compensation at health care companies to $400,000 or equal to the president of the United States’ salary.

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