Closed Doors On Health Care

Once again on Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee went into closed session to talk about health care reform, this time avoiding public scrutiny on how to pay for reform.

In other words, there weren't lots of TV cameras recording sound bites for the evening news from Senators talking about how to increase taxes.

The closed door sit down drew the ire of the group Consumer Watchdog, which slammed the lack of sunlight.

"Americans should not be locked out of any discussion about health care reform, particularly one that will consider whether everyone should be required to buy health insurance policies without any limits on what insurers can charge," said the group's health care advocate Jerry Flanagan.

Democrats are turning on each other over some of the tax options, as labor unions are already running radio ads against Democratic Senators over the idea of taxing - for the first time - health care benefits provided by employers.

Also being floated, higher taxes on beer, wine and liquor, along with a possible tax on soft drinks and other sugary beverages like Gatorade.

The American Beverage Association said it would be "an over-reach" to use items like taxes on soft drinks to pay for health care reform.

Soon enough, these ideas will go from policy "options" to proposals.  And that's sure to spur a heated round of lobbying, and a lot of opposition in Congress as well.

Lawmakers and key staff members in Congress better enjoy their Memorial Day break next week, because after that - they're going to have to get down to business on health care reform.

And that means making choices.  Whose taxes get raised.  What cuts to offer.  How to pay for extending health care coverage.

That's when the doors really stay closed.  This was just the start.