The White House has reasserted its concern over a tax on employee health benefits even while a key lawmaker said he sensed a softening in the administrations position.
During a meeting with Senate Democrats, many of whom are rewriting laws that would overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said that President Barack Obama "might consider" such a tax as a means to pay for health reform legislation this year, according to published reports. On Capitol Hill today, the senator stood by his assessment. Its on the table, he said.
A number of options being considered could limit the value of employer-sponsored coverage, thus returning more money to federal coffers that could be used to pay for a health reform effort that likely will top $1 trillion over 10 years.
Obama has been cool to the idea, though, and struck out against such a measure as a candidate for the White House. Rather, the president favors a plan that would put a cap on the tax rate of itemized deductions. The president made it clear during the campaign that he has serious concerns about taxing healthcare benefits, and he has introduced his own revenue proposal, which he reiterated in (Tuesdays) meeting, a White House spokesman said in a written statement.