House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel announced yesterday that there was "no way" he would support changing the tax exclusion for group health insurance. Sigh.

With apologies for repeating myself, comprehensive reform is going to cost more than $1 trillion over the next decade, maybe a lot more. Capping the exclusion--under which employer contributions to health insurance don't count as personal income--could provide the bulk of that money. And it would do so in a way that was highly progressive.

It'd be one thing if Rangel had a better alternative. Or any alternative at all. But, based on what Rangel said yesterday, he doesn't.

For more on the difficulty of financing reform, see Karen Tumulty

--Jonathan Cohn