That was then

>> Tuesday, December 1, 2009

But the main battle over health and cost containment will come in May, when Hillary Rodham Clinton's task force is scheduled to produce a master plan for reform. Then, a massive attack is expected to be mounted against both the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. The president is already warming up for that with remarks like "The pharmaceutical industry spends $1 billion more each year on lobbying and advertising than it spends on developing new and better drugs."

Task force working papers indicate that the health reform plan will also call for a second round of tax increases, $50 billion or more, to pay for insurance coverage for those who now lack it. These increases may include a tax on health benefits over a certain limit, a tax on corporations, and special taxes on products defined as "bad for your health." This innovative approach would target not only tobacco and alcohol, but pollutants and guns, which are arguably a health hazard.

As a London economist has noted, the momentum behind some kind of federal reform to America's health system now seems unstoppable, but probably not without a battle over who controls, and who pays.
—Daniel Schorr, "Health Care Is a Major Issue in the Clinton Economic Plan," Come to Think of It: Notes on the End of the Millennium, p. 41-2


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