Although the Democratic health care reform proposal currently in Congress is not final, two key elements are emerging as to how the government will pay for the trillion dollar plus price tag: Taxing private insurance benefits, and cutting hundreds of billions in Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
Taxing private insurance and cutting benefits were the two things Obama said during the presidential campaign that he would not tolerate in health care reform, and he ripped into John McCain for supposedly planning just what the Democrats are about to propose:
Legislation to be outlined next week in the Senate Finance Committee will likely include a new tax on workers with the costliest employer-provided health coverage, officials said Friday, but with implementation delayed until 2013 to minimize any political fallout.
Officials familiar with internal deliberations said the leading option under consideration by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the committee chairman, would mean higher taxes for workers whose family coverage costs $15,000 a year or more in premiums paid by employer and employee combined.
The provision could generate hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade to help pay the $1 trillion or more the Obama administration has estimated is necessary under its plan to extend health care to millions of Americans who lack it. Cuts in projected Medicare and Medicaid spending are expected to make up much of the rest.
If the final bill follows this formula, and if Obama signs it, Obama and the Democrats will have violated fundamental campaign promises. I know, you’ve been punked:
You’ve Been Punked By Obama — The Detainee Episode
AP On Obama: You’ve Been Punked