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Watercooler – Tax Breaks For Employer-Based Health Insurance Endangered

Here’s one of the ways Congress is considering cutting the deficit:

Job-based health care benefits could wind up on the chopping block if President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans get serious about cutting the deficit. Budget proposals from leaders in both parties have urged shrinking or eliminating tax breaks that help make employer health insurance the leading source of coverage in the nation and a middle-class mainstay.

“There is no short-term prospect of enactment,” former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a leading Democratic adviser on health care. “However, in a tax reform (and) deficit reducing context in the long term, the prospects are much better,” said Daschle. He opposes repealing the tax break by itself, but says he would be “willing to look” at it with other changes that improve access to quality health care.

The idea isn’t to just raise revenue, economists say, but finally to turn Americans into frugal health care consumers by having them face the full costs of their medical decisions. Such a re-engineering was rejected by Democrats only a few months ago, at the height of the health care overhaul debate. But Washington has changed, with Republicans back in power and widespread fears that the burden of government debt may drag down the economy.

Seriously. I want to hear from the progressives who still support the Democrats. Why? Just tell me why.

What’s on your mind tonight?

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Jim Moss

Jim Moss