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As Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas noted, “When you buy… a new pair of pants, it usually helps to ask two questions: What does it cost? What size is it?” Yet, as he was pointing out, Republicans in Congress went to ram their new Trumpcare health scheme into law without anyone knowing its size or price.
However, we do know this: As usual, GOP congress critters have rigged their bill so it greatly enriches corporations and the rich, while grossly punishing the elderly, the working class, and the poor.
Start with the rich. In February, Trump’s treasury secretary flat-out promised there would be “no absolute tax cut for the upper class.” Only one month later, the Trumpcare bill turned his promise into a flat-out lie. The bill provides tax cuts of $158 billion to the wealthiest Wall Street investors, $145 billion to insurance corporations, $25 billion to the drug giants, and $20 billion to medical device corporations.
Meanwhile, even though Trump himself promised to lift up hard-hit working-class families, calling them America’s “forgotten men and women,” his healthcare plan turns the candidate’s campaign promise into a presidential lie. Trumpcare would let insurance corporations cut their benefits and drastically raise the price of coverage – including being allowed to charge older workers and retirees five times more than young people would pay for the same policy. And good luck if you’re a poverty-wage worker – the Republican bill slashes $880 billion a year in Medicaid funds, literally cutting off millions of poor people from getting basic health care.
For those who wonder where inequality comes from, there it is. Trumpcare would deliberately increase inequality by transferring billions of dollars in wealth from the working class to the ultra-rich.
“Wealthy Would Get Big Tax Cut Under Affordable Care Act Repeal Plan,” The New York Times, March 11, 2017.
“Analysts Say Millions Risk Losing Coverage In G.O.P. Health Plan,” The New York Times, March 8, 2017.
“One Certainty in Health Bill: Tax Cuts for Wealthy,” The New York Times, March 16, 2017.
“What ‘Repeal’ Really Means,” The New York Times, March 12, 2017.
“Cornyn praises GOP health plan; Cruz says it needs a lot of work,” Austin-American Statesman, March 08, 2017.
Why should we subsidize higher pay for insurance CEOs?
We’re hearing a lot these days about House Speaker Paul Ryan’s 123-page legislative plan for Trumpcare, the GOP’s so-called “replacement” for Obamacare. In fact, we now learn that it’s actually a displacement plan – 24 million Americans who are now insured would no longer get coverage, the premiums paid by senior citizens would be jacked up, and the benefits for practically everyone would be cut.
But Ryan did make sure that one group with special needs will benefit from his legislative wizardry: The CEOs of giant insurance corporations. Understandably, none of the GOP lawmakers who’ve been loudly crowing about killing Obamacare have mentioned a little, six-line proviso hidden on page 67, discretely titled, “Remuneration from Certain Insurers.” In plain English, this gob of gobbledygook offers a tax subsidy that encourages insurance conglomerates to increase the pay of their top executives.
Current tax law says insurers can pay as much as they want to top executives, but they can only deduct $500,000 per executive from their corporate taxes. Under Ryan’s ripoff, however, we taxpayers would at least double and possibly quadruple the unconscionable salary subsidies we dole out to these enormously profitable corporations.
The White House and GOP Congress proclaim that their replacement of Obamacare is “The will of the people.” Really? How many Americans really think that jacking up the pay of superrich insurance chiefs is a proper use of our tax dollars? And I’d say a big majority of the people would think it immoral to steal lifesaving healthcare benefits from working-class and poor families just to subsidize corporate elites who’re already overpaid.
If Republicans actually think their executive pay subsidy is the will of the people, why are they trying so hard to keep it a secret from the people?
“Here’s the secret payoff to health insurance CEOs buried in the GOP Obamacare repeal bill.” LA Times, March 7, 2017.