This afternoon, the House Ways and Means Committee was scheduled to discuss the health care bill. You know, the one with the two-tax solution: the .3% payroll tax and the sugar-sweetened beverage tax.
Well, it didn’t happen.
The committee took testimony in the morning. But after lunch, members did not reassemble. At one point, committee chair Janet Ancel entered the Ways and Means room; I asked her what the plan was.
I don’t have her exact words, but here’s the gist. They’d heard from all the witnesses, but the committee had stalled out on the two tax provisions. Neither tax would get majority support in the committee, if she held votes today. So, no votes.
No witnesses left. (She jokingly asked me if I’d like to testify.) And apparently she feels that more discussion or debate wouldn’t change any minds.
Welp, without those two tax provisions, there’ll hardly be any money for closing the Medicaid gap or any of the other improvements adopted by the House Health Care Committee.
Ancel had no idea what would happen next, or when it might happen.
Of course, either tax (or both) could be added back at a later point. But if Ways and Means can’t agree on a funding mechanism, it’s certainly a discouraging sign for those of us hoping to redeem a few scraps of the lost promise of single payer health care.