Tag: obamacare
late Sen. John McCain

How The Little Guys Lose Under Trump's Tax Plan

The late Sen. John McCain didn't much like Obamacare, but in 2018, the Arizona Republican pulled it out from under then-President Donald Trump's hatchet. Why? Because McCain saw the "skinny repeal" measure as a sneaky attempt to eviscerate the health coverage of little guys to free up money for tax cuts favoring the wealthy.

Hold that thought as you look upon Trump's vow to extend much of his 2017 tax cuts in a second term. Here are some shocking numbers:

Extending the tax cuts would cost $4.6 trillion over 10 years at a time of already high deficits, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And projected U.S. debt as a share of GDP would rise by 36 percentage points to over 200% by 2054, numbers from the Center for American Progress.

Of course, there's a way for that not to happen. Huge cuts could be made to Social Security, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act. Also Defense, research at the National Institutes of Health and even farm subsidies. And then what? Trump and company will say, hey, the debt crisis has left us with a choice. Social Security is simply unsustainable. That's the plan.

Drop the baloney about the 2017 tax cuts "paying for themselves," which is how they were falsely marketed. It's true that a few changes goosed some investments, according to Harvard economist Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, but the cuts didn't come close to offsetting the cost of them. On the contrary, they were deficit-financed, and so would be their extension.

While the middle class may lose benefits long taken for granted, its members would see little in the way of reduced taxes under Trump's proposed extension. While households with income in the top one percent would enjoy an average tax cut of more than $60,000 in 2025, those in the bottom 60% would see less than $500, according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

As for the original 2017 tax cuts, Trump claimed they would "very conservatively" boost household incomes by $4,000. As it happened, workers who earned less than $114,000 on average in 2016 saw zero benefit from the cut in the corporate tax rate. The top tenth of the one percent did considerably better with an average after-tax boost of $252,300 in income.

Trump's vow of another payday has some Wall Street magnates and tech billionaires setting aside their previous objections to his attempt to violently overthrow the American government. Not long ago, Blackstone Group co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, a big Republican donor, wisely argued that his party should look elsewhere for leadership. Now the multi-billionaire donor is back in harness and all for Trump.

"Wall Street has never been known for high character and high values," Dan Lufkin, co-founder of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the investment bank where Schwarzman once worked, bluntly told Bloomberg News.

Bear in mind that many Silicon Valley and Wall Street billionaires are not rising to the bait, but arguing that Trump's contempt for the rule of law is actually bad for business. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, wrote that without America's predictable, rules-based environment, "New York, and America, would not have become the hubs of innovation, investment, profit and progress that they are."

And what about Joe Biden? He would keep the tax cuts for Americans making less than $400,000 a year and let most of the other provisions in the 2017 law expire on schedule.

McCain was a conservative patriot who believed America was about more than money. The billionaires slobbering for more tax cuts are all about the money.

It's OK to like money. It's not OK to take it out of the little guys' hides.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Ron Johnson Scheming To Repeal Obamacare In 2023

Ron Johnson Scheming To Repeal Obamacare In 2023

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Monday that if his party regains control of Congress in Washington, D.C., it will again push to take away health insurance from tens of millions of Americans.

In an interview with the right-wing website Breitbart — first flagged by the progressive research group American Bridge 21st Century — Johnson was asked what Republicans would do if they win back the majority in the November 2022 midterms.

The second-term Republican replied by noting that as long as President Joe Biden is in the White House, they will be unable to pass much legislation — but could use the next two years "to stop any further slouching toward Gomorrah," a reference to the late extreme right-wing jurist Robert Bork's 1996 book blaming the decline of America on liberalism, and "any future slide toward socialism."

Johnson then noted that if Republicans can win back the White House in 2024 and maintain control of Congress, they need to have a plan in place to "make good on what we established as our priorities."

He specifically cited getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010 and commonly known as Obamacare, saying, "For example, if we were going to repeal and replace Obamacare — OK, I think we still need to fix our health care system — we need to have the plan ahead of time so that once we get in office, we can implement it immediately, not knock around like we did last time and fail."

Like many other Republicans first elected in the 2010 tea party wave, Johnson ran originally on a promise that he would "repeal and replace" Obamacare.

"Ron will vote to repeal the Health Care Bill and replace it with market-based solutions that will include: portability, malpractice reform, mandate reduction, insurance purchase across state lines, lower costs, and a safety net for those with pre-existing conditions," the issues section of his 2010 campaign site noted.

Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 on an explicit but vague promise to "immediately" replace Obamacare with something "terrific" that would guarantee health insurance coverage to every single American.

Without any actual plan to do that, Trump in 2017 signed on to a congressional GOP health care plan that the Congressional Budget Office said would have kicked 23 million people off of their insurance. Johnson repeatedly backed Trump's proposals, but the Republican majority in the Senate could not muster the needed 51 votes for any of multiple attempts to repeal Obamacare.

Johnson vowed in 2017 that he would not give up on finding a way to get rid of Obamacare. But by 2018, the once-unpopular law had become significantly more favorably viewed by the American public, and Republicans began to scrub their websites of any repeal-and-replace language.

Johnson's own campaign issues page no longer mentions Obamacare at all, and his old "Real Reforms for Health Care" page is now gone.

As of last summer, Department of Health and Human Services data showed that about 31 million Americans now receive health insurance coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation's tracking poll, as of October the law enjoyed 58% public approval and only 41% disapproval.

But Obamacare's success and popularity have not deterred Johnson, whose own approval ratings are in the mid- to low 30s, from his quest to get rid of it.

Johnson's latest comments come just weeks after he said that he did not think affordable child care was society's problem.

The Wisconsin Republican, who in 2018 had an estimated net worth of more than $39 million, told a reporter in January, "People decide to have families and become parents. That's something they need to consider when they make that choice. I've never really felt it was society's responsibility to take care of other people's children."

"If you're proposing that the federal government incur even more deficit spending to provide child care for parents? I mean, I don't see how that's a solution at all," he added.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Stupid But Lucky, Republicans Failed To Kill Obamacare Again

Stupid But Lucky, Republicans Failed To Kill Obamacare Again

They tried. Oh, they tried. Republicans spent a decade bashing and voting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. And what did they get for all their trouble? A 7-2 ruling by a conservative Supreme Court to uphold the health insurance program also known as "Obamacare."

For that, Republicans should thank their lucky stars. There would have been unlovely consequences had they succeeded in killing a government program that secured health coverage for 23 million Americans.

Could it be that their attacks and thrusts to repeal the ACA were really just an act? Republicans passed several bills to do in the ACA during the Obama administration, resting assured that the former president would veto them.

After 2016, Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress but still failed to deep-six the ACA. Republican John McCain famously stopped a serious repeal effort with his one vote in the Senate. Though pilloried for that, he had saved his party from having to deal with the inevitable fallout.

Targeting the ACA worked early on politically when the kinks were still being ironed out and the program was hard to explain. Once millions of Americans started experiencing the benefits, the tack turned to promises to put something better in its place.In 2016, Donald Trump ran for the presidency promising to replace Obamacare with "something terrific." As you know, nothing emerged.

One of the problems with offering to replace a popular program is that you really do have to come up with a replacement. There were (and remain) a few conservative health care experts ready to develop alternatives, but they have been largely ignored by the politicians.

With a few exceptions, Republicans simply aren't interested in doing the work on health care, which requires accepting trade-offs. There was all this talk, for example, about getting rid of funding for Obamacare but keeping coverage for preexisting conditions. An insurance market couldn't function if people could sign up for coverage after they've become sick and, therefore, expensive enrollees.

Where does the health care debate go from here?

Republicans have turned to a more specialized complaint centered on the "public option." This would be a government-run plan that competes with private offerings on the ACA Marketplace.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz recently condemned a Democratic proposal as "a stepping stone toward a single-payer public option system, which would eliminate private health insurance." And the Senate Republican Policy Committee is peddling the notion that Democratic support for a public option is a push for a "fully government-run health system."

None of this is quite true. How a public option might affect private insurers would depend on how the public option is structured. (Sorry, everybody, but the details matter.)

The real problem with throwing thunderbolts at the public option is that Democratic leaders aren't currently pushing for one. They want to avoid a fight with insurers, providers and others who profit off the high cost of American health care.

And so, Democrats are focusing on the simple, easier stuff, such as lowering the eligibility age of Medicare, now 65, to something like 60. And they are addressing the scourge of outlandish prescription drug prices, something the Trump administration said it would do but didn't.

Of course, Congress should let Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices. Democrats have backed that for a long time, and lest we forget, so did Trump during his first presidential campaign.

Saved from taking the rap for strangling Obamacare, Republicans should know they have alternatives to nibbling at it on the edges. They could become deeply involved in developing a rational health care system that the ACA only got rolling. How 'bout it?

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.


Trump And Georgia Officials Seek To Sabotage Obamacare

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Because he just can't help himself, on the Sunday before the election Donald Trump squeezed in one more act of sabotage against Obamacare, one that will create major headaches for the people of Georgia. Sunday marked the beginning of the 2021 open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, and this year the marketplace again promises to be more stable and to offer more coverage options and more affordable plans. (That is, if the Supreme Court doesn't decide early next year to nuke the whole thing.)

The same day enrollment opened, Trump announced a waiver for Georgia allowing it to scrap the use of the Healthcare.gov website—the marketplace for plans—in the state. No, the state hasn't developed its own online marketplace, like a handful of states have done since the law was passed. It just doesn't want any more people signing up on Obamacare plans, so it will be direct people who need insurance to go through brokers or do their own work on private websites.

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