The Senate GOP finally release their healthcare bill on Thursday. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell hopes to hold a vote on the bill, which has been written entirely behind closed door, late next week before members break for recess on July 4th.
So what’s in the bill?
First, the bill rolls back that Medicaid expansion. Medicaid is one of the most important health programs in the country for low income Americans. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the Medicaid rollback would cost 14 million Americans their health insurance, leaving the poorest Americans vulnerable.
Second, the bill repeals the individual mandate. The mandate is largely what allows Obamacare to function because it requires healthy people to pay in to the healthcare system. Without the mandate, there will be no incentive for the healthy to buy health insurance, meaning higher premiums and deductibles for everyone else.
Third, the legislation will put in place per capita caps on state Medicaid grants. The caps are tied to the rate of inflation. This means that the federal government only sends a set amount of inflation tied funds to the states for Medicaid, regardless of how much the care actually costs. This wouldn’t be such a disastrous idea if the price of medical care was actually indexed to inflation, but medical costs significantly outpace inflationary rates. This mean this bill is going to cost more over time.
Fourth, the bill spikes premiums on the elderly dramatically. Those above the age of 59 will go from paying 6-9.5% of income to 8.3-16.2% of income. Elderly Americans that make over 350% above the poverty line will be responsible for the full price of care. These cuts come at a time when tens of millions of elderly Americans are already struggling to save enough for retirement.
So where’s all the money going?
You guessed it, to the wealthy.
Part of the Affordable Care Act’s funding comes from a tax on the rich. This includes a 3.8 percent tax on investment income and a 0.9 percent payroll tax for those making more than $250,000 a year. That GOP plan will eliminate these taxes in full. This equates to an estimated $765 billion tax cut over the course of 10 years for the wealthiest Americans.
So let’s summarize.
The poor and elderly people pay more money for worse health insurance so that the wealthy can have three quarters of a trillion dollars in tax breaks. Any questions?