The Anti-Health Care Act and that tax cut for the rich

money bags

Photo by 401kcalculator.org, published under Creative Commons license

Both the House and Senate Republican Anti-Health Care proposals give big tax cuts to wealthy Americans and slash even bigger amounts of money from health care for lower and middle-income Americans.

The House called theirs the American Health Care Act and the Senate called theirs the Better Care Reconciliation Act. There’s nothing better or even good about either one. So I’m writing a series of short blog posts this week, in the hope that you will call Senators and tell them very politely to kill this bill. A list of key Senators and phone numbers is at the bottom of this post.

Vox created a graphic to illustrate this huge shift:

“The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the 400 top income households alone would receive $33 billion in tax cuts between 2019 and 2028. This is equivalent to the amount that the federal government spends on Medicaid expansion in four states: Alaska, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Nevada. The Medicaid expansion there covers an estimated 725,800 enrollees.

“It’s hard to wrap your head around that disparity: 400 families gaining a tax cut that is offset by ending a program that covers three-quarters of a million of low-income Americans. “

The Los Angeles Times compared the Senate and House versions with the current Affordable Care Act and identified the people getting $663 billion in tax cuts over the next decade: “Medical device makers, insurance companies and wealthy Americans.” The current ACA imposes a tax on people making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year. Both Republican plans eliminate those taxes.

Forbes reports:

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the tax provisions of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would reduce federal tax revenues by $700 billion over the next decade. And a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center finds that nearly 45 percent of the benefit of those tax cuts would go to the highest-income one percent of households, those making $875,000 or more.”

The higher the income level, the greater the tax cut. According to Vox, repealing the 3.8 percent tax on interest, dividends, and capital gains means that

“… members of the top 0.1 percent, who each on average make more than $3.75 million annually, would get an average tax cut of $165,090.”

Another ACA tax is a 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on wage income over $250,000 a year for couples, over $200,000 for single people:

“The Republican bill would repeal this surtax and, in so doing, give everyone in the bottom 90 percent an average tax cut of $0, per the Tax Policy Center. The richest of the rich, the top 0.1 percent, would get an average cut of $30,520.”

Both bills reduce the deficit by cutting Medicaid and reducing subsidies to help low- and middle-income Americans pay for health insurance. That would mean millions of people lose insurance, 15 million in the first year and millions more in subsequent years. Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins explained on Twitter why she would not vote for the bill:

“CBO says 22 million people lose insurance; Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to healthcare in rural areas threatened.”

Who are these “most vulnerable Americans?” Minneapolis Dr. Robyn Reed wrote in a letter to MinnPost that they are her patients:

“The thing about a children’s hospital is, nobody’s there because they “made bad choices.” We care for kids who are sick — many critically sick, many chronically sick or disabled — through no fault of their own. A bad roll of the genetic dice. A few unlucky moments around the time of birth. An infection in a bad site, at a bad time.

“Forty-three percent of our patients get their insurance through Medicaid. Cuts to Medicaid and changes to insurance regulation such as annual and lifetime caps and loss of essential health benefits would mean the children I care for won’t be able to receive the care they need to survive and live the best, healthiest lives they can live.”

 

Meanwhile, here’s what you can do:

New York’s Sen. Schumer says that the Senate is NOT hearing the same amount of outrage from the public about their bill as the House heard about the House bill. The Senate bill is going to a vote this week: 23 million losing coverage, the shrinking of Medicaid, and no guarantee of preexisting condition coverage, among other provisions. I don’t know anyone who will not somehow be affected by this, and this will be literally devastating for some family members and friends.
The following Senators are the most on the fence, and they need calls NOW, especially from people in their state. DC offices get swamped with calls and sometimes you can’t get through – I’ve also listed a state office number for each Senator.

You can also call the Senate Finance Committee at 202-224-4515 and leave a message saying “I call for the committee to hold a hearing on the health care bill that was just released.”

  • Dean Heller (Nevada): 202-224-6244 / 702-388-6605
  • Susan Collins (Maine): (202)224-2523 / (207) 622-8414
  • Lisa Murkowski (Alaska): (202)-224-6665 / (907) 271-3735
  • Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia): 202-224-6472 / 304-347-5372
  • Bill Cassidy (Louisiana): (202) 224-5824 / (504) 838-0130
  • Jeff Flake (Arizona): 202-224-4521 /  602-840-1891
  • Cory Gardner (Colorado): (202) 224-5941 / (970) 484-3502
  • Rob Portman (Ohio): 202-224-3353 / 614-469-6774
  • Ted Cruz (Texas): (202) 224-5922 / (512) 916-5834
  • Rand Paul (Kentucky): 202-224-4343 / 270-782-8303
  • Mike Lee (Utah): 202-224-5444 / 801-524-5933
  • Ben Sasse (Nebraska): 202-224-4224 / 402-476-1400

Please copy and post this on Facebook, or message your friends in these states. Most of all, please call.

 

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