How to sell a healthcare benefits tax

Throughout the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama hammered away at John McCain for proposing a tax on healthcare benefits to pay for expanded coverage.

That position has become a little more untenable now that leading Democrats in Congress think such a tax is one of the better ways to pay for their own bill.

So it's no surprise that the Sunday morning shows today were abuzz with a compromise: The White House may accept a tax on so-called "Cadillac" plans--expensive, all encompassing healthcare plans whose high price tag and wealthy recipients make them an attractive target for a tax.

It's even less surprise that Democrats are touting Goldman Sachs executives as the typical owners of such policies. If you're going to propose a tax, why not tie it to a major financial firm who, despite receiving a government bailout, has been posting record breaking profits?

For example, here's David Axelrod on Face the Nation, who brought up the Goldman Sachs angle unprompted:
...the president actually was asked this the other day by Jim Lehrer and what he said was that this was, you know, that this was an intriguing idea to put an excise tax on high end health care policies like the ones that the executives at Goldman Sachs have the $40,000 policies. His big interest is in keeping the yoke of this, the burden of this off of the middle class who are struggling in this the economy. If it meets that test, then he will certainly give it consideration. So I think that is certainly a possibility. There are other possibilities out there as well.

Expect to hear more about these Goldman Sachs executives and their "Cadillac plans."

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