Though Finance Cmte Chairman Max Baucus, D-MT, indicated last night that the tax on elective surgery like plastic surgery and hair restortation, suggested as a possible way to pay for health are reform, came from OMB's Peter Orszag, White House aides say not true.
OMB spokesman Ken Baer and White House Deputy Press Secretary Reid Cherlin tell Fox this idea actually came from a Treasury Dept official.
Either way, as I reported last night, it appears to be very much off the table. Most members of the Finance Cmte had not even heard of the idea.
Still, the proposal underlines the difficulty negotiators are having in coming up with a way to pay for $1 trillion in health care reform.
All eyes continue to be on the negotiators (Baucus, Conrad, Bingaman; Grassley, Enzi, Snowe) as they try to find a compromise before the August recess. The goal is to have a bill unveiled this week with cmte consideration next week. That was the subject of a White House meeting Friday between Baucus, President Obama, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Better to have the bill survive recess (though, no doubt, critics will attempt to shoot enough holes in it to leave it near death) than to have members take the heat from constituents with no details of a compromise bill to offer.
Senate Democrats are expected to talk health care today at their weekly party policy lunch.