Dingell says taxes on wealthy needed for healthcare bill

There will have to be tax increases on wealthy Americans to finance healthcare reform, longtime Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) declared Tuesday.

Dingell, the Dean of the House whose career has been devoted to healthcare reform, said that tax increases are art of the formula to pay for healthcare legislation during an appearance on ABC's "Top Line" webcast.

"I think that this means there will be modest increases on taxes for persons in the upper-income brackets, yes," Dingell said.

In terms of timing, Dingell added that the opportunity is ripe for healthcare reform.

"Everybody in the Democratic caucus wants a bill on this point," the veteran lawmaker explained. "The question isn't so much sticker shock, as much as how the healthcare changes we have to make must be financed."

Democratic leaders in the House have floated tax increases for top earners as a way to pay for their reforms, alongside cuts and savings in other programs. However, some leaders in the Senate have been reluctant to sign onto tax increases, fearing it could scuttle passage of a final package.

For his part, Dingell said that the time is now for healthcare reform -- particularly a package that creates a public (or "government-run") option for consumers.

"I don't see any way around it," Dingell said of the necessity of including a public option. "I won't say it isn't going to happen, but it's going to be a while before the stars are in proper constellation again."