The health care debate is about to become a tax debate now that House Democrats have unveiled their health care plan that would levy a new tax on 2 million Americans.
Politically, this means Democrats are proving the stereotype true as the tax-raising party, and it will give the GOP a chance to strike and Democrats the need to fight back. At risk is landmark health care reform and part of the voter coalition President Obama rode into office.
Republicans may argue against the bill on the basis that it simply raises taxes on individuals that gross more than $280,000 or households that gross $350,000. That's a necessary but insufficient argument against the tax because Democrats are arguing this isn't just a tax, but a fee to be paid in return for a service: health care.
Instead, the GOP can crunch the numbers for the tax rates, which go from 1 percent up to 5.4 percent for those earning more than $1 million. Using those totals, Republicans may simply say to the potential surcharge payers: with the money the government is going to take, you could pay for your own health care plan, a better plan, or a range of surgeries.
Furthermore, Republicans can try to sever the fee-service analogy between the tax and the health care plan. That's because the tax is intended to raise revenue to be used by the federal government to pay for coverage for the uninsured. In other words, the GOP could say: you aren't going to get this money back in federal health care coverage.