Job-based health care benefits could wind up on the chopping block if President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans get serious about cutting the deficit.
Budget proposals from leaders in both parties have urged shrinking or eliminating tax breaks that help make employer health insurance the leading source of coverage in the nation and a middle-class mainstay.
The idea isn’t to just raise revenue, economists say, but finally to turn Americans into frugal health care consumers by having them face the full costs of their medical decisions.
Such a re-engineering was rejected by Democrats only a few months ago, at the height of the health care overhaul debate. But Washington has changed, with Republicans back in power and widespread fears that the burden of government debt may drag down the economy.
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