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?
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