Link By Jeff Gannon Talon News October 11, 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) said that he would raise income taxes in order to fund his health care plan. During last week's presidential debate, the Massachusetts liberal promised to rescind the Bush tax cuts for some Americans and reallocate that wealth toward government-sponsored healthcare. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a Washington-based taxpayer advocacy group, estimated the cost for Kerry's plan at $1.5 trillion over 10 years. The candidate's proposal would hike taxes $969 per taxpayer, or nearly $10,000 over the next decade. ATR President Grover Norquist said, "John Kerry wants to implement a bloated, government-run healthcare program and stick American taxpayers with the bill." Norquist believes much of the benefit would be wasted since almost 60 percent of the plan's cost would be used to pay for people who already have health insurance. The average person will receive a benefit of $451 dollars, which is more than offset by the increased tax burden. "Kerry has made empty promises about preserving President Bush's middle class tax cuts, but the fact it is, he needs to raise taxes to fund this big government boondoggle," Norquist said. President George W. Bush took issue with his opponent's strategy to cover the cost of 'Kerry Care' during last Friday's debate. He pointed out that Kerry's tax increase, estimated to be somewhere between $600 and $800 billion wouldn't cover the $1.5 trillion price tag. Bush said, "It's just not credible ... there is a difference: what he's promised and what he could raise ... either he's going to break all these wonderful promises he's told you about, or he's going to raise taxes. And I suspect, given his record, he's going to raise taxes." At a campaign stop earlier in the week, Bush criticized Kerry's approach to expanding access to health care. Bush said, "My opponent's proposal would be the largest expansion of government-run health care ever. His plan would put bureaucrats in charge of dictating coverage, which could ration your care and limit your choice of doctors. ... He's putting us on the path to Hillary care." The president pushed for health savings accounts (HSAs) where individuals pay for current health expenses and save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis. He signed legislation last year that established the innovative health care funding program. Amounts contributed to an HSA belong to individuals and are completely portable. Every year the money not spent would stay in the account and gain interest tax-free, just like an IRA. Unused amounts remain available for later years. Bush has also aggressively promoted small business health care reform. He has repeatedly called on both houses of Congress to pass a law allowing association health plans (AHPs), so small businesses could band together to negotiate and purchase health coverage for their employees. In his 2004 State of the Union address, Bush again pressed for legislation to help make health insurance more affordable. He said, "On the critical issue of health care, our goal is to ensure that Americans can choose and afford private health care coverage that best fits their individual needs." Legislation that would allow AHPs has passed the House of Representatives but has been obstructed in the Senate by the Democratic minority that includes both Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards (D-NC).