The White House is caught in a battle within its own party over how to finance a comprehensive overhaul of America’s health-care system, as key Democrats advocate a tax plan that could require President Obama to break his campaign pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class.
Sensitive to voter anxiety about a soaring federal deficit, Obama and congressional leaders have vowed to pay for a sweeping expansion of the health-care system — expected to cost more than $1 trillion over the next decade — without additional borrowing.
Much of the money is likely to come from reining in spending on federal health programs for the elderly and the poor. Obama has proposed trimming more than $600 billion from Medicare and Medicaid by 2019 — including more than $300 billion in cuts unveiled in his Saturday radio and Internet address — which could fulfill the promise to curb the growth of federal health spending.
The rest of the cash will probably come from new taxes.