As Republicans begin the process of moving away from Obamacare and creating a new health care plan, they are saddled with many challenges, including determining whether or not to also repeal the plan’s taxes.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes a variety of taxes on industry groups and people, plus Medicare taxes for high earners. These taxes help support expanded coverage, and some Republican members of the House and Senate are realizing that, without them, there will be little money left to put a new plan in place.
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy, of Louisiana, for example, explained in an interview with The Hill that “there needs to be some source of revenue.” He added, “As far as I’m concerned, we can leave those on the table.”
A House GOP aide told The Hill that no decision has been reached yet about keeping the taxes to cover the costs of a replacement.
‘Members are still reviewing all options on the table and no decisions have been finalized about how we will smoothly transition away from this failing law and toward reforms that deliver affordable, quality, health care choices based on what patients and families need.’
While a final decision has not yet been reached, it would be in Republicans’ best interests to keep the taxes in place, according to an analysis from the Brookings Institution that was released this week. The report revealed that, if all taxes are repealed, only about 40 percent of the $1.2 trillion cost of Obamacare will remain.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also released a report this week warning that, if taxes are repealed and Republicans are left with a lack of funds, they may turn to Medicaid and Medicare cuts to help move their plan along.
The report said:
‘Given Republicans’ opposition to revenue increases, such as those used to fund the ACA, they most likely would turn to Medicaid and Medicare as their primary source of savings to finance a ‘replacement’ measure, creating tremendous pressure to radically restructure those programs along the lines of past Republican proposals.’
The report also pointed out that cuts to Medicaid and Medicare would “put the health and financial status of tens of millions of Americans at risk.”
Whatever decision is reached regarding a replacement for the ACA, concerned Americans can rest a bit easier knowing that many health lobbies are betting that no changes will be implemented immediately. Instead, some are predicting that it will take up to three years to settle on a replacement, making the repeal an issue for the 2020 election. If this is the case, Republicans hoping to run for Congress then will have to deal with backlash for the slow implementation.
Twila Brase, President of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, said on Tuesday about the repeal,
‘If an Obamacare repeal takes three years, as some are predicting, it becomes an election issue in 2020. The Republicans who won on it this year stand to lose big if it’s still around in 2020. And Americans stuck in its grip for another four years — or forever — will be the biggest losers of all.’
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