If overhauling our health system exudes the odor of bigger, more expensive government, the odds of passage plummet in the face of these growing middle-class concerns. When it comes to their own political survival, politicians possess impeccable radar. Last night’s election returns should set off those radars for dozens of Democrats who represent these overextended and financially insecure suburban families. One can almost hear those backroom conversations. “I still want to see a health-reform bill enacted,” they will assure their leaders on Capitol Hill, “but can’t we at least dial it back a bit?”
This will complicate things for Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid. How will they find a politically acceptable mix of new taxes to finance such an ambitious plan? The short answer is that they can’t. Whether they finance their plan with a tax on “Cadillac” health plans, drugs, and wheelchairs or impose massive new taxes on the “rich,” it will hit the family budgets in these middle-class communities. Memo to lawmakers who represent these districts: You will need to identify other ways to pay for the trillions in new health “benefits” you want to bestow on us, or find a more fiscally manageable way to skin the health-care cat.