"If you like the health insurance you have, you get to keep it." Remember that? Yeah, except that now we're going to tax it and load it up with expe
January 7, 2010


"If you like the health insurance you have, you get to keep it." Remember that? Yeah, except that now we're going to tax it and load it up with expensive co-pays and deductibles that will keep you from being able to actually use it! The part I can't figure out is, who does this make happy? Other than union busters, I mean.

You know, it would be slightly less awful if they didn't try to feed us this horse hockey about how our salaries will go up if they force out insurance costs go down with this tax. What planet are y'all living on?

Reporting from Washington - President Obama told top Democratic House members on Wednesday that he favored a tax on insurance companies offering more expensive healthcare plans as a means of extending insurance to millions of people who are not covered, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

The "Cadillac tax" is a feature of a healthcare bill that cleared the Senate before the Christmas holiday. But the House has chosen another financing method -- a tax hike on the wealthy.

Powerful labor unions at the core of the Democratic base are opposed to the Cadillac tax, saying that in some cases union members gave up wage increases in return for richer healthcare benefits.

Obama's preference may put pressure on the House to adopt the Senate tax as part of a compromise between the two bodies. Obama made his views known at a late-afternoon meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and other senior Democrats.

Hours earlier, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked by reporters whether Obama preferred the Senate tax or the House version. "I have not heard him weigh definitively in one versus the other," Gibbs said.

Wednesday's meeting, the second in two days, was part of a White House effort to take a more active role in healthcare negotiations as they reach their final stage.

House and Senate leaders are trying to strike a compromise and send a bill to the president's desk before his State of the Union speech in the coming weeks.

The more active role is a change for the White House, which for months gave wide latitude to Congress as it shaped a bill.

A Senate aide who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the closed-door meetings said that the White House had signaled it would "convene and run" meetings from now on as lawmakers strive to reach a consensus, reflecting a "significant uptick" in the Obama administration's involvement.

The Democratic leadership welcomes a more hands-on White House, as Obama's imprimatur could provide political cover to members casting a tough vote in an election year.

"The White House recognizes that it's time to step up," said Chris Jennings, a senior healthcare advisor in the Clinton administration. "They need to spend capital in order to get this over the finish line. It can be extremely helpful because, fundamentally, you don't want to delay any longer than you have to. Their involvement can accelerate this from a political and technical perspective."

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