I have been as critical of Democrats in the process of pounding out reform for our failed healthcare system in the last few months as anyone. In the “House of Lords” that has become the U.S. Senate the discussion is so very frustrating that one forgets that many good Democrats in the House deserve much credit. They have moved the discussion towards where it needs to be.
However, in the House on two tough calls that will be tough votes, House Democrats are forging ahead with serious and realistic goals in actually achieving universal coverage. They are showing guts in calling for sacrifice:
WASHINGTON – An income tax surcharge on highly paid Americans emerged as the leading option Wednesday night as House Democrats sought ways to pay for health care legislation that President Barack Obama favors, several officials said.
As discussed in the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, the surtax would apply to individuals with adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 and couples over $250,000, they added.
While tax increases are always understandably risky, President Obama did campaign on raising taxes for those making over $200,000 and won an overwhelming victory. While the part of me that is moderate does say that any tax increase on anyone should be reasonable and fair I understand that anyone who pays it will think it is unfair. All I can say if when I make it there I will gladly pay the tax.
Another idea campaigned upon and floated around is also seeing the light of day:
In addition, key lawmakers are expected to call for a tax or fee equal to a percentage of a worker’s salary on employers who do not offer health benefits.
This idea is particularly appealing. In the last
few decades a whole lot of “employers” have been shipping our middle-class jobs overseas to exploit oppressed and virtual slave labor. They have transformed our job market to “service-type” to pay Americans peanuts while doing away with middle-class jobs and wages and warring on the unions in this country.
The result is not only are a huge number of Americans working jobs with no benefits including health insurance, but their wages are so low that they cannot go out on their own and afford coverage for themselves and their families. Businesses simply cannot be left out of any reform. While not all businesses and businessmen and women are corrupt, as a whole they have been one of the major contributors to the crisis. They simply cannot have it both ways again for reform to work.
Rep. Shelly Berkley spoke but cautioned that no decisions are final:
Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., a member of the panel, said the proposed surtax on high-income taxpayers appealed to her and others as a way to avoid a “nickel-and-dime” approach involving numerous smaller tax increases. She added that other earlier options had fallen away, including an increase in the payroll tax.
The fate of any reform though unfortunately has to pass through the “House of Lords” in the United States Senate:
Across the Capitol, it seemed clear the drive to enact health care legislation was entering a new phase in the Senate, where attention has largely been focused for months on efforts by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to forge a bipartisan agreement within the Finance Committee he chairs.
On Tuesday, the Senate Democratic leadership made it clear it viewed a proposed tax on certain health care benefits as unacceptable, at the same time it relayed word that it favors allowing the government to sell insurance to consumers.
Both those positions appeared to undercut much of the work Baucus has been doing. He has said for weeks that any legislation would call for a tax on certain health care benefits, and Republicans are strongly opposed to the idea of government intervention in the private insurance industry.
Baucus told reporters during the day he was “very sensitive to the various concerns that senators have” on taxing benefits, yet added that “by far a better approach is a bipartisan approach.”
First, I have a real problem with this “bi-partisanship” that reaches out and pulls back a bloody nub. Nobody worried a singe bit about “bi-partisanship” when they were ramming these policies that destoyed our economy and got us bogged down in Iraq, and destroyed our standing in the world. How can we now be “bi-partisan” in repairing the damage?? The Republicans are never going to go along with any real reform without it being shoved down their throats. Its our turn.
It is time for our Senate to realize that they are way behind the American people. In case they have not noticed a lot of them have been shed from that body in the last few years. Maybe the safer approach is to catch up with the urgency millions of Americans feel in the problems that have beset our country- problems the folks we would reach out to created.
I guess all of us and the rest of the 70%+ of the American people that want change in the healthcare system need to stay focused on demanding real change. If we cannot get it we need to mobilize as a force in ousting those who would not give it to us in primaries or general elections with the resources available to us, the American people. Our money, effort and vote.
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