Here’s one question that every Republican at every town hall needs to be asked ASAP
The GOP’s nameless Affordable Care Act “replacement” has been leaked after reportedly being pulled for review by the CBO because it was about to be scored as not adding any coverage over straight repeal and the numbers look atrocious.
It is what we expected to be.
A basic formula for viewing GOP health care reform is that it will help you if you’re healthy and rich — in other words, like most GOP policies, it helps the people who need it the least and hurts most everyone else.
The Center for American Progress did the math and found “the average subsidy per recipient could fall from $6,314 under the ACA to $2,703 under the repeal bill—a drop of 57 percent.” Another word for subsidy is “tax credit.” So the GOP is proposing cutting tax credits that only go to middle class workers by more than 57 percent. Instead you will get tax credits based on age. And despite that, the nearly elderly will pay the stiffest penalties in the marketplace. Their “weighted average costs would more than double, rising from $4,078 to $10,167 per year.”
“This means that Bill Gates would qualify for the largest tax credit simply because he is 61 years old,” Vox‘s Sarah Kliff reports. “Under the Empowering Patients bill, Gates’s net worth of $83 billion — presumably enough to purchase health coverage — would do nothing to disqualify him. Under Obamacare, he gets no help.”
You could debate about whether the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade would be the largest middle class tax increase ever, but you can be sure Republicans would be calling it that if Democrats were proposing it.
Two things you can say for sure.
One is that the plan offers a massive tax break to the extremely wealthy, including billionaires like Bill Gates, of about $346 billion over the next ten years.
Taxing millionaires and billionaires is something we’re really bad at in America — despite the richest seeing a more than 321 percent increase in income from 1978 – 2015 while the bottom half saw their income decline by 1 percent.
The ACA’s effectiveness at taxing the super rich is one huge reason this issue has next gone away and why opponents of the law outspent defenders by 6-to-1.
Also, there’s no doubt that a new tax increase that’s included in the GOP plan is a tax increase. It would extend the tax on employer-provided insurance into much of the middle class by taxing 38 million more Americans.
Republican health care policy: one cruelty piled on top of another to pay for upper-class tax cuts. That’s it. https://t.co/N1mtBApJCO
— Scott Lemieux (@LemieuxLGM) February 24, 2017
So in exchange for huge tax breaks for the very rich — about $7 million for the richest 400 families — we get a system with much weaker coverage for all that punishes the sick and worships the feet of the super rich, which is bad news because chances you will be sick are much greater of you becoming super rich. Sorry.
A new Quinnipiac poll found that 76 percent of Americans oppose lowering taxes on the wealthy.
So while we’re in the survival mode and trying to keep 25 million people’s insurance, it seems like an extremely pertinent question to ask Republicans why they’re trying to give the super rich a break while sticking it to the middle class.
Basically: Why are Republicans ripping us off?
[Image via Global Inequality Dynamics: New Findings from WID.world;
Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman; NBER Working Paper No. 23119]