Congressional opponents of health care reform seem to be getting their messaging from online "Belly Fat" ads. Rep. Denny Rehberg of Montana (R) has proposed "two simple cuts" for deficit reduction: kill a modest expansion of Medicaid and cancel all of the health insurance tax credits that would be offered to the working poor and middle class under health reform. Instant savings of $1.4 trillion!
Wow, why didn't someone think of that sooner? So simple.
Of course, Rehberg knows that working and middle-class families will be required to show proof of insurance as of 2014 and can't afford to buy it without help, His solution is to let them go without, though he would grandly drop all penalties.
Better sick than subsidized, right?
Rehberg's trick really is simple, but is aimed at killing the whole idea of health care reform and extending the status quo: In California, for instance, that means more than a quarter of working-age people uninsured altogether, and millions more on the edge of losing personal or employer-sponsored insurance. The rich and the very well-employed--like Rehberg--won't have a thing to worry about. For the rest of us, as the belly-fat ads say in tiny type, "results may vary."
The jobless, uninsured and struggling families, however, could rest easy in knowing that Rehberg found a way to cut the deficit without touching the near-record low tax rates of the very wealthy, getting rid of more flawed military weapons systems that even the Pentagon doesn't want or snipping oil industry taxpayer subsidies.
There's little chance that Rehberg's plan will go anywhere, but you can bet it'll be a campaign tool against anyone who ever proposed raising taxes on bloated corporations or offering a hand to the working poor.