This morning, during an interview with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly argued that Americans don’t want to pay higher taxes for universal health care coverage:
We get emails from our viewers all the time. They don’t want higher taxes! They don’t want any more. They don’t want you to tax their health care benefits. They don’t want a Value Added Tax, a sales tax on their goods. Universal health care sounds good in theory but they don’t want to be taxed even more than they already are.
As Peter Orszag and a good number of bloggers explained, “health reform is the best chance to put costs on a sustainable path over the long term. But over the short term, it takes money. And there’s no clear congressional consensus over where to find the money.” But Americans are more willing to finance health care reform through higher taxation than Megyn Kelly suggests. The most recent polling shows that 47 percent “prefer a health care reform plan that raises taxes in order to provide health insurance to all Americans”; 47 percent do not.
Matt Yglesias is right to suggest that “the problem is that even if you have a senator who’s willing to raise taxes in the face of 47-47 public opinion, you have an additional hurdle when the subject turns to any particular tax,” but I would also argue that most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes for health care security. Pay a little more for your beer and protect yourself from astronomical health care bills. Makes sense to me!