The Politico has a piece about how the Democrats are “squabbling” over how to pay for health care reform. The article by Patrick O’Connor and Carrie Budoff Brown considers the two main revenue increases that have been proposed: the Baucus plan attempts to get funding from within the system by taxing “Cadillac” plans; and the House plans levy a “millionaire’s tax” on those making over a million dollars a year.
But given our fiscal situation – and the extent to which it is being driven by Medicare’s rising costs – and given the political landmine that is looming in our coming deficit crisis – why not include both? Take whichever measure is less popular, and use that to shore up the very popular Medicare program. And use the more popular measure to do the essential but less politically rewarding task of helping the uninsured.
What’s the downside of that? Let the Republicans oppose a revenue raising measure as busting the deficit!
The downside of course is that by increasing revenue and making our current level of government more sustainable, the Republicans and other right wingers will switch their criticism to focus on the fact that by running government well and responsibly, we are making more government possible. It’s rather incredible how the “starve the beast” strategy has become so essential to the Republican party’s political success since Ronald Reagan.
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