House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will not vote for a health reform bill that either hikes taxes or adds to the deficit, he told audience members at a town hall on Tuesday night.
"The fact of the matter is," Hoyer began, "that on this bill, we have said ... it will be paid for. It will be paid for. And if it’s not paid for, I’m not going to vote for it.”
The House Majority Leader's line rebukes an idea first proposed by his own party that Congress fund health care reform using a surtax on the wealthy. A number of Democrats are similarly skeptical of the new fee -- even though their primary draft bill is deficit neutral because of it -- but Hoyer's opposition further jeapordizes its inclusion in the House's final product.
Instead, Hoyer explained, Congress could better fund any overhaul of health care by addressing inefficiencies in the current system.
“What I said is, it would be paid for. In part it would be paid for, as I indicated, in ringing out and making more efficient, Medicare," Hoyer said. "We’ll get some dollars from that. That will be a savings from that, that will be applied to the cost of [the House bill]."