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Wyden Is Impressed, Too

Few people have been working as relentlessly towards universal health insurance in the last two years as Senator Ron Wyden, who introduced a serious universal coverage proposal just weeks after the 2006 midterm elections and has been building bipartisan support for it ever since. In an interview just moments ago, Wyden said he was pleased with Obama's opening bid on reform:

In the last 36 hours, the president took two very gutsy steps on health care. The first was, after 60 years of yakking about health care in America, he wasn't going to wait until year 61 to do something about it. He wants to do it this year. He stuck his neck out and I think you have to give him credit for it. Second, we know he is at least open to looking at the tax rules, so there is a real possibility for re-examining the role of employer-sponsored insurance. ... Those are two very gutsy steps in the cause of health reform.

"Tax rules" is a reference to the tax deductablity of employer-sponsored insurance. As my friend Ezra Klein has reported, Obama advisors have indicated that if Congress wants to change the deductability of such premiums--as Wyden has proposed--the administration will probably go along. 

--Jonathan Cohn