Let's Fix This Country
tax notes

Stealing from Obamacare

In order to force the bill through the Senate with only the simple majority of 51 votes, Senate rules required that it not at the end of its 10-year lifespan result in a continuing deficit. Congressional Republicans had given themselves a lavish allowance of $1.5 trillion to play with, but as one after another eliminated deduction was restored in whole or part, reducing revenue and overdrawing the allowance, the legislators looked about and found their solution in the Affordable Care Act. Cancelling the requirement to buy insurance or pay a penalty would result in fewer people buying insurance, and therefore fewer qualifying for the estimated $338 billion in subsidies helping them pay for insurance. Those assumed savings were appropriated into the tax bill as revenue, needed to hold the bill to its $1.5 trillion loss.

Between the young and healthy dropping out of the insurance pool, and others priced out by premium costs rising to cover the less healthy that remain, the CBO estimates that 13 million people will no longer have health insurance. Donald Trump exults that "with this bill… we have essentially repealed Obamacare", crippling it in order to pay for the 40% drop in the corporate tax rate and the disproportionate benefits for the wealthy. But "we'll come up with something that will be much better…something terrific", like the two failed terrific attempts to repeal Obamacare earlier this year.

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