Putting the Revenue Puzzle Together on Healthcare

The key to passing healthcare reform is finding a politically feasible way to pay for the large up-front costs of expanding coverage. Over time, other elements of the legislation, like changing the payments structure of Medicare and health IT, can bring down the growth of healthcare costs (grant me the leap of faith for the moment). Before that happens, though, legislators have to find a way to pay for the additional expenditures that satisfies the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) but doesn’t cause an electoral taxpayer revolt.

There are a couple options already out there. The House bill released yesterday pays for the expansion in coverage by imposing a surcharge on our highest earners, beginning at 1 percent for couples making $350,000 and maxing out 5.4 percent for those making over $1 million. While the Senate Finance Committee has not weighed in on revenue generators, it’s rumored they prefer removing the tax emption on employer-provided health benefits. There are plenty of good reasons for doing this. The employer tax exemption creates massive incentives to increase healthcare costs (without a guarantee of better outcomes). Additionally, the tax exemption is highly regressive, since it benefits those already with insurance coverage.

Insurance Companies: Never-for-Profit

Why in the long run does government never truly serve the interest of everyday people?

Why is it that corruption can always gain access to the most noble of programs and institutions designed for good?

Yes, the rich become richer, but somehow the middle and poor class of Americans are affected more by the injustices and greed of the institutions established to serve and advocate for their interests.

We wouldn’t know where to start in cleaning corporate and government houses that would truly give individuals a fighting chance with economic empowerment and wellness.

Tom Daschle, Bellwether

To take stock of the true trajectory of support for a public option within the Democratic forces behind healthcare reform, one should look no further than Tom Daschle.

The former senator from South Dakota — who was supposed to become President Obama's secretary of Health and Human Services but who withdrew from contention when his unpaid taxes threatened to derail his nomination — was pushing a public option for healthcare as recently as May 18, 2009, when he argued in a Newsweek column for a public plan.

SCOTUS Ruling Fuels GOP Fire

A.B. Stoddard spoke with Chris Kofinis & John Feehery about how the Supreme Court reversal on Ricci v. DeStefano will effect the outcome of Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearings.


Did the President Surrender on the Public Health Option?

Yes, he did.

The president should have said at his press conference that a public option must be included in the healthcare bill, that the public favors it and that he would go to the country and fight for it.

Instead, the president said a public option is a good idea and he favors it at this time.

Public Plan Option Wins by Landslide

The votes are in and counted, and the winner is ...

No, I’m not talking about the election in Iran. I’m talking about the latest New York Times/CBS poll on healthcare. Which contains some very interesting results.

Does our existing healthcare system need fixing? Eighty-five percent of Americans say yes!

Which party do you trust to do the job? Fifty-seven percent say the Democratic Party. Only 18 percent trust Republicans.

Dems Could Lose Healthcare Debate

The Hill's A.B. Stoddard delves into some of the latest Sarah Palin news, and offers commentary on how Congress is handling the healthcare debate and the political climate in Iran.


How They Pay for It: Breaking Promises of the Obama Campaign

House Democrats are preparing to break President Obama’s campaign promises as a way to pay for his healthcare plan.

According to The Associated Press, Ways and Means Committee Democrats are contemplating the following tax increase:

• Increasing the price of soda and other sugary drinks by 10 cents a can.
• Applying a potential 2 percent income tax increase to single taxpayers earning more than $200,000 a year and households earning more than $250,000.
• A new employer payroll tax could target 3 percent of employers' healthcare expenditures.
• Taxing employer-provided health insurance benefits above certain levels — a less likely option but one that still is in the running.