FROM CNN’s Jack Cafferty:
Health care reform won’t come cheap, and that’s why lawmakers are considering higher taxes on everything from alcohol and cigarettes to junk food and soda as a way to pay for it. The Senate Finance Committee is looking into how to pay for this massive overhaul, which could cost $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Several experts are suggesting taxes on bad behavior, including a $2 dollar tax on a pack of cigarettes and a higher excise tax on alcohol.
Politico reports that the ranking Republican on the committee, Senator Chuck Grassley is nixing the idea of taxing soda and sugary drinks. But it’s easy to see why so-called sin taxes are appealing — taxing cigarettes, junk foods and alcohol could raise $600 billion over 10 years.
A recent poll found support among Americans for imposing such taxes to help pay for health care reform. The Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows 61 percent of those polled say they would be in favor of raising taxes on items that are thought to be unhealthy — like cigarettes, alcohol, junk food and soda. 37 percent are opposed.
When asked about specific items, there’s more support for taxing cigarettes and alcohol than snack foods and soda.
But before you start hoarding your beer and chips, Congress is also looking at other ways to pay for reform — like eliminating the tax-free status of company health benefits along with non-health related options like capping the deduction on charitable donations.