How They're Going To Pay For Health Care

For the first time, key senators (Sens. Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley) have laid out the range of possibilities for how to pay for health care reform--a big question for those trying to reform it. Reform will undoubtedly cost billions, even with savings added to the health care system. Baucus and Grassley put forth a slew of suggestions (including in-system savings), some of them being taxes on alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, etc), taxes on hospitals that don't meet non-profit standards, modifying tax deductions for health care expenditures, and taxing some employer-provided health plans as income. Paying for reform is a difficult business, as evidenced by the committee's list, and some of the options sound better than others (especually after a presidential campaign during which Democrats hammered John McCain for suggesting a tax on health care). Soda tax, anyone?