New data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that the tax reform bill passed by House Republicans will cost an astounding $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, possibly forcing $25 billion worth of cuts to Medicare. At the same time, Republican senators are working to create their own version of the bill, which would end the Obamacare individual mandate.
With looming cuts to Medicare and this latest effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act, the GOP is attacking the healthcare system under the disguise of tax reform.
Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, says that these looming cuts shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.Congressional “pay-as-you go” rules require spending cuts when a bill cuts taxes but doesn’t produce revenue elsewhere. Koshgarian, however, believes the GOP is deliberately trying to move the bills before these consequences can be publicly aired.
“In some cases, they have been moving with some of the things they’ve been trying to do this year faster than the Congressional Budget Office was able to,” Koshgarian told Rising Up with Sonali recently. “The CBO is a non-partisan, extremely qualified group of analysts that are able to put together estimates like this for what it will really mean for our budget and our country when Congress proposes something like this.”
With the tax cuts, elderly Americans that rely on Medicare risk losing coverage,and eliminating the individual mandate would cause up to 13 million Americans to lose their health insurance, according to Koshgarian.
““The tax cut proposed just for the richest 1 percent would be about $72 billion, she calculated. “You could use that money instead to cover more than 12 million Americans in the individual marketplace. There’s an almost perfect match up between the tax cut that they want to give to the richest 1 percent in 2018 and the number of Americans that could lose their health insurance coverage through this Senate proposal.”
The IPS National Priorities Project recently released a state-by-state report that calculates what the government could pay for instead of giving away tax cuts for the richest 1 percent, state by state, and the results are eye-opening.
Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who is the main proponent of removing the individual Obamacare mandate, promises that tax cuts for wealthy people will “sunset,” or decrease, in 10 years. Koshgarian doesn’t buy it.
“One question is, ‘Will they really?’” she asked. “In the Bush era, there were tax cuts that were intended to sunset also, and as we saw they did not sunset. This is a tactic used often in Congress to get something through that you want — and you realize that once you give something, it’s much harder to take it away,” she said. “Having given a tax cut to the richest 1 percent and to profitable mega corporations, it’s going to be much harder to take it away.”