Healthcare Update

by on June 27, 2017 in Politics

The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Senate’s healthcare bill. It is as damning as expected. All you need to know is encapsulated in this one chart from the report:

Here’s a clue to the real objective: near the bottom of the chart is a bar indicating the cost to the Federal government of removing the various taxes that helped finance Obamacare [the ACA mentioned in the chart]. That cost is $541 billion over the next ten years. This, obviously, knocks a vast hole in the budget and is not allowed under the arcane Senate rules covering budgeting. Those rules require any law affecting the budget passed by simple majority vote, that is a law that the equally arcane filibuster cannot slow down or prevent, cannot add to the deficit. It has to be what is known as “revenue neutral”.

So, having decided to cut taxes on the rich and the health insurance providers to the tune of $541 billion, what is a good Republican supposed to do?

Why: hammer the poor of course. Make them pay for the tax cut.

And, as the chart shows the Republicans propose doing just that and then some. Their bill, if it passes into law, would slash Medicaid spending by $772 billion over those same ten years.

In fact, if you look at the bottom of the chart the entire healthcare bill will save the government about $321 billion.

Why the discrepancy? Why cut healthcare for the poor by way more than the cost of the tax cut?

I am glad you asked:

You see, this is just the first step. Not content with this tax cut, the republicans want to follow this bill up with something they call “tax reform”. By this they mean yet another round of tax cuts for the rich. And they want to use the same arcane Senate rules to push that through because they know the Democrats won’t cooperate. So tax reform has to be “scored” by the CBO to appear neutral also. And here’s the neat trick: this neutrality is averaged, in effect, over up to three bills during a single year. The black ink of the healthcare bill can be used to offset the flood of red ink in the so-called tax reform process.

Now you get it!

The poor, through their loss of healthcare coverage via the reduction of Medicaid, are not paying for one round of tax cuts for the rich. They are paying for two tax cuts for the rich.

And the Republicans aren’t even embarrassed by the venality of what they are proposing. Instead most are applauding. The few holdouts, there are a handful, are all that stands between the poor and a plutocratic onslaught the like of which we have never seen.

Let’s see whether the rich get there way again. Want to bet?

 

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