Editorials Discuss Reform, Taxation of Health Benefits
USA Today: It is "gratifying" that Republicans last week introduced a health care proposal because "the simple fact that it exists might improve chances" for bipartisan negotiations, a USA Today editorial states. According to the editorial, the plan -- which would replace the current tax exemption of employer-provided insurance with a refundable tax credit for all families and individuals, regardless of their employment status -- is "no cure-all," but is a "serious proposal that merits serious consideration." The editorial states, "For all those who say the Republican Party is out of ideas, on the issue of health coverage, at least, its proposal is bolder than what the Democrats have offered." However, the editorial notes that both Republicans and Democrats "have identified more groundbreaking ideas, and they are not entirely incompatible." The editorial concludes, "[L]et the debate begin. The only unacceptable approach is the status quo" (USA Today, 5/29).
- Wall Street Journal: The "emerging 180-degree turn by Democrats on taxes and health insurance is one for the record books," a Journal editorial states. According to the editorial, "Democrats have spent years arguing that proposals to equalize the tax treatment of health insurance are an outrage against the American people." However, "now Democrats need the money to finance $1.2 trillion or more for their new health insurance entitlement" and are considering taxing health insurance, according to the editorial. The editorial continues, "Democrats owe an apology" to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who favored taxing health benefits during his campaign and was "mauled" by liberals who criticized the idea as a tax hike on the middle class in "brutal" television ads. The editorial states, "Having told the country that this tax reform is really a tax increase, Democrats are opening themselves to the same attacks they leveled against Republicans." The editorial concludes that the only way Democrats can pay for their goal of "government-run health care" is "by taxing everything in sight, including your current health insurance" (Wall Street Journal, 5/29).