Republicans promised for almost a decade to repeal ObamaCare but when the time came that they could they all became weasels.
Try after try has met failure, but Trump continues to dismantle it piece by piece.
Now they have another big chance to dismantle most of it. But Republicans aren’t going there. Fire them all!
There’s an opportunity through the GOP tax revamp introduced yesterday to dramatically overhaul how most Americans get their health insurance.
The WashPo explains:
The single biggest carve-out in the U.S. tax code is for health plans offered by employers, who don’t have to pay federal income or payroll taxes on their monthly premiums. This exemption — created shortly after World War II as a way for employers to boost job benefits even amid wage controls — has made employer-sponsored plans the chief source of health insurance for Americans. But it is also blamed for contributing to the country’s health-care spending binge and costing people their health insurance whenever they change jobs.
You heard that right — the way to shift the U.S. health-care system back to one that’s more market-driven, where people are encouraged to shop around for the best deal, is through a tax change, not through Obamacare repeal. The health-care bills Congress recently tried to pass would have affected the one-quarter of Americans who buy coverage on their own through the marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act or via Medicaid. But way more people — about half of all Americans — receive health coverage through their jobs.
The biggest policy reforms are often the hardest, and that’s true in this case. Even though most conservative and liberal health economists agree that decoupling health insurance from the workplace could improve the U.S. health-care system in the long run, employers overwhelmingly oppose the idea. And any such move would likely spark a massive public outcry from the 150 million Americans who get insurance through their jobs.
The tax draft that House Republicans released yesterday doesn’t propose any changes to the employer exemption, even though Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) advocated capping the deduction in his “Better Way” agenda last year.
This is not just a Republican issue.
Democrats also regarded capping or even scrapping the employer tax break as too politically risky as they were writing the ACA back in 2010. Instead, they decided to tax high-cost health plans through the “Cadillac tax,” which didn’t appear to hit Americans so directly.
There’s another way Republicans have ducked controversy in their tax bill: by so far excluding a repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate to buy coverage (something Trump is already pushing for on Twitter). Some conservatives, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), urged leaders to tack it on to the draft proposal, and the idea was even being tossed around Wednesday night as the final details were being crafted.
“I have what I will call maybe a creative idea, a novel idea, but one that I think is gaining momentum in the Senate and in the House,” Cotton told reporters yesterday. “We can repeal the individual mandate of Obamacare.”
But for now at least, the House tax plan doesn’t try to touch Obamacare. That could change as Trump — and conservative lawmakers and their allies in the interest group world — keep pushing for a a long-sought victory in that arena.
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