During a discussion of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), NBC‘s Meet the Press host David Gregory (7/7/13) said this:
I don’t understand exactly how the exchanges are going to work. I don’t understand all the ins and outs of the employer mandate and how that works. But anybody who gets a paycheck in this country understands one thing, that there’s a new line item. And it says Medicare surtax.
So the tax part’s working. You’re paying more taxes for Obamacare. That part’s working. It makes a lot of people mad.
It’s revealing that someone with Gregory’s job admits that he doesn’t know much about the new healthcare law. (Was he not paying attention when his guests were talking about every week for months on end? Or were his interviews just not very informative?) But the part that he thinks he does know–that “anybody who gets a paycheck” is paying a new Obamacare tax–isn’t true.
That Additional Medicare Tax is paid by people making over $200,000, as the IRS helpfully explains here. So it doesn’t apply to “anybody who gets a paycheck”–it applies to wealthy people, in the top 2 percent of household income.
Now, of course, being wealthy doesn’t make it impossible to understand life as it is experienced by, say, non-millionaires. But as argued in my recent piece for Extra! (6/13), it can pretty obviously skew one’s perspective.
As the article noted, Gregory is apparently a member of the exclusive Chevy Chase Club, which requires an $80,000 initiation fee. Perhaps in those circles everyone is paying this new tax, or the one on investment income. That’s got to make at least some of the people at the country club pretty mad.
On the next episode of Meet the Press (7/14/13), Gregory issued this correction:
We’ve been talking about Obamacare a couple of times during the program. I want to correct something that I said last week in our discussion about it. I made the observation that people getting a paycheck would observe that they were all subject to a Medicare surtax. I was not right about that.
The only people who are subject to it are those who make $200,000 or more, or a couple filing jointly making more than $250,000. That’s the only time that that surtax applies. So I was mistaken in my conversation about that, and I apologize.