Health Care Reform: The Best Trillion Dollars You'll Ever Spend!


That seems to be the pitch now that the Senate's HELP Committee has come out with a revised proposal that theoretically covers most Americans at the low, low price of between $1 and $1.3 trillion. If Congressional Democrats were selling cars instead of health care, I imagine the pitch might go something like this:

"Your old car might get you around, usually, but its creaking engine and lack of features make it fundamentally unreliable. But let me show you my new model. It comes loaded with nifty features, and it'll be far more reliable in the long run. And it only costs, let's see here… $50,000. What? That's too much? Well, let me go ask my manager if we can do anything about that. [Disappears. Returns a few minutes later.] Good news! He said I could give it to you for just $32,000. It's a great deal! At that price, how could you pass it up?"

Here's the problem: Regardless of whether or not it's a great deal, you just don't have $32,000 to spare, and you're not sure what, if anything, you could cut out of your budget in order to free up the money.

Right now, Democrats have broadly agreed on most of the major elements of a health-care bill, and they seem to think that, at somewhere just north of a trillion dollars, it's a steal. But as The Hill's Jeffrey Young points out, they haven't even begun to figure out how they're going to pay for it:

What none of those bills have spelled out is how Democrats will meet their commitment to fully paying for covering millions of uninsured people and achieving the broad goal of reforming the entire healthcare system.

The matters of who will get taxed more and how much more they would have to pay remain undetermined, or at least unrevealed, with the August recess just five weeks away. Democrats in both the House and Senate are aiming to pass their respective healthcare bills before adjourning in August.

…The grim political reality facing Democrats in Congress and the White House is that some Americans, somewhere, somehow are going to have to pay higher taxes if their healthcare bill is going to become a reality.

And if any of those people make less than $250,000 a year, Obama could be forced to break a major campaign promise.

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