WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- The White House has not ruled out taxing employee healthcare benefits to help pay for reform efforts, the U.S. health and human services secretary says.
When asked on Fox Television's "Fox News Sunday" if President Barack Obama would stick to a campaign pledge to avoid such measures as a way to finance healthcare reform efforts, Kathleen Sebelius said Obama would prefer not to resort to that measure but it is "open to discussion."
"He vigorously opposed Senator (John) McCain's idea to eliminate the benefits, the non-taxable benefits, because he figures that would really dismantle the employer marketplace," Sebelius said. "I think that he's open to discussion but prefers, again, capping the itemized deduction, returning it to the days of Ronald Reagan."
Sebelius said the administration's plan would save about $660 billion over 10 years in healthcare costs, as well as about $330 billion over 10 years in capping the itemized deductions allowed on U.S. income taxes.