Funding long-term health care reform

John Dimsdale May 20, 2009
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Funding long-term health care reform

John Dimsdale May 20, 2009
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Bill Radke: On Capitol Hill today, the Senate Finance Committee considers how to pay for health care reform. Covering 46 million uninsured Americans could cost $1.5 trillion over the next decade. How to pay for it? John Dimsdale considers the options.


John Dimsdale: One way is to squeeze waste from the existing health delivery system. Proposals include digital record-keeping and incentives to keep people out of hospitals.

Robert Blendon: All the things people are talking about have a real potential for savings long term, but not to get people covered in the short term.

Harvard University’s Robert Blendon says it’ll take five to 10 years before those improvements bear fruit. In the meantime, senators are considering taking away the tax deduction for employer-sponsored health insurance. That would mean a smaller paycheck for most workers.

The White House prefers cutting broader tax deductions for the rich. And there’s the idea of higher sin taxes, including, for the first time, sugary soft drinks.

Blendon: You’re going to have to pursue a source of revenue that’s really quite large and the soda bottle and cigarettes and alcohol doesn’t do it by itself.

Senators are trying to find a bipartisan solution that avoids turning too many powerful interest groups against reform.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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