The Treatment

Tax My Health Benefits. Please.

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Around Washington these days, there's a lot of chatter about the tax exclusion for employer health benefits--and whether to modify it in the course of reforming American health care. Sunday's New York Times had a story announcing that the Obama administration was open to the idea, although, for the record, I'm pretty sure I read about that development here first. 

In any event, the idea is getting some serious attention and some serious critcism. The criticism, not surprisingly, comes primarily from liberals and labor unions--in the latter's case, because some union members with generous benefits would be affected. 

Since I'm a liberal whose sympathy for unions is pretty well-known, I thought I'd seize the opportunity to show my friends why, in my opinion, they are wrong. And to make the case, I got a hold of some hard projections from Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who's been modelling this for policymakers and other interested parties over the past few months.

You can read the article here.

--Jonathan Cohn

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