Increasing taxes on alcohol, tobacco and even soft drinks might not be the most popular ways for Congress to finance efforts to overhaul the nation's health care system and such measures would make a small dent in the price tag, according to most estimates. But such taxes could be more politically palatable than another idea floating around the debate — limiting the tax deductions for employer-provided health care benefits.
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus has indicated that he would be open to changing the rules on how benefits are taxed as a way to help pay for an overhaul estimated to cost $1.5 trillion over ten years. Updated 3:10: NPR's Julie Rovner reports on the discussion over taxing health care benefits at the Finance Committee hearing, listen to it here:
As has been pointed out several times this week, it's an idea that was proposed by Sen. John McCain during last year's presidential race — and one attacked heartily by President Obama's campaign.
The AP reports that White House aides now say the president is "open to suggestions from Congress," on how to finance the plan. As this idea continues to percolate, expect Obama's campaign opposition to be a part of the discussion. And, you might be seeing this ad a lot more often: