After working very hard to kill many progressive idea about how best to control health care costs, Mary Landrieu has found one she likes. Too bad it is the one that will most benefit millionaires:
I can only support a bill if the Cadillac plans are taxed at the level they are in the Senate [bill,]” said Landrieu. “It’s not because I’m thrilled about taxing those plans, which I’m not, but it is the No. 1 cost-containment measure in the bill. It’s what is going to drive costs down over time.”
Well that is just a great justification for keeping the Cadillac tax. After Landrieu fought for months to kill the public option in the Senate, which would have brought down costs, and voted against drug re-importation that the CBO said would save American consumers around $100 billion, she is worried about cost control. I can only assume based on her vote on the Dorgan amendment that she would also be opposed to government price controls on drugs, to get them in line with prices in Canada, or direct Medicare drug price negotiations, since both would upset PhRMA. It seems Landrieu is against the progressive ideas for controlling health care’s spiraling costs, but uses the issue of “cost control” to defend only one provision.
With the terrible Senate bill already written, Landrieu has magically transformed into someone who cares about cost control. She has laid down a marker on the so-called “Cadillac tax” on health care benefits even though the CMS says it will cause millions of Americans to see increased co-pays and deductibles, while only reducing national health expenditures by a measly 0.3%.
By demanding to keep the excise tax on health care plans unchanged and the overall price tag the same it means the millionaires surtax in the House bill is likely to be dropped or dramatically scaled back. Does a millionaire like Landrieu really feel passionately about the need to tax health insurance benefits, or is it just that she is passionately opposed to the House’s alternative funding mechanism, which is increasing taxes for millionaires? I will let others judge, but I think the evidence clearly points to one conclusion.