Can Obama Sell a Cadillac Tax?

Jan 11, 2010
Can Obama Sell a Cadillac Tax?

Rick Klein
ABC News

“ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: President Obama today is meeting with labor leaders at the White House to discuss health care — specifically, to convince them of the need for them to compromise on their longstanding opposition to taxing high-end health care plans.

Obama himself was opposed to a tax on so-called “Cadillac plans” as a candidate. He even cut an ad slamming Sen. John McCain for wanting to tax health benefits.

But the president is now convinced that the best way to raise some of the revenues the bill needs is with a tax along the lines included in the Senate version of the health care bill. Now he wants his allies in Big Labor to go along, Time magazine’s Karen Tumulty told us on ABC’s “Top Line” today.

“The message is going to be, ‘There’s a deal here — let’s make it.’ Ad what they’re probably going to do is move the threshold so that fewer and fewer of these policies would get taxed,” Tumulty said.

While unions including the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, and AFSCME have been outspoken in their opposition to a “Cadillac tax” — something they say will wind up falling disproportionately on the middle class — few observers expect them to oppose Democrats’ health care reform efforts.

“There is so much else in this bill that they want — starting with coverage of over 30 million Americans — that I think that if and when this bill passes, it is going to be marked as such a gigantic achievement,” Tumulty said.

We also got her take on the scandal enveloping Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, after a book reported him to have made racially insensitive comments about President Obama.

“The fact is that Barak Obama also brought to the table some really extraordinary political talents, and so I think that there is really no history that would suggest that Harry Reid is a racist. There’s a lot of history that would suggest that he is not really good with words,” Tumulty said.”

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