Sohn: Trumpcare robs from the poor and gives to the rich

Sohn: Trumpcare robs from the poor and gives to the rich

March 15th, 2017 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks on the GOP's long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Photo by J. Scott Applewhite

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POLL: Are you concerned the GOP health plan will be more expensive for you?

So Trumpcare will cover everybody, offer more choice and be better?

Not if the GOP plan recently unveiled is what's finally adopted.

The Congressional Budget Office's assessment of the Republican health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, estimates that the GOP plan would eventually cut the average insurance premiums for people who buy their own insurance by 10 percent. But the way the bill achieves those lower average premiums requires penalizing older — and sicker — patients.

President Trump's first 100 days

So much for promises of free-market choice and competition to drive lower premiums.

According to the CBO report, the American Health Care Act would make health insurance so unaffordable for many older Americans that they would simply leave the market and join the ranks of the uninsured. With only younger, healthier people in the insurance pools, the premiums will fall. And an estimated 24 million will lose coverage — growing the number of uninsured Americans by 2026 to 52 million.

Under current law, in 2026, a single 21-year-old earning $26,500 with an insurance policy that costs $5,100 a year would get a tax credit or subsidy of $3,400 and would have to pay $1,700 of the premium. Under the Republican bill, that person's share of the cost would drop to $1,450.

But a 64-year-old earning the same amount will get sticker shock: Under Obamacare, that person's $15,300 health plan would be offset by a $13,600 tax credit, leaving the consumer to pay $1,700. Under the Republican plan, health insurers would be free to charge the senior more, raising that person's premium to $19,500. But the tax credit would be only $4,900, and the 64-year-old's share of the premium would then be $14,600 — about 10 times higher than the 21-year-old's.

More than 350,000 people are insured under the ACA in Tennessee.

This is a cruel plan. And by the way, the young people who would save $250 a year are not the real winners in it.

The real winners — the big winners — are the rich and some businesses.

The rich win again because this plan provides a $600 billion tax cut to them over 10 years. Under the ACA, the top 4 percenters helped pay for health care subsidies with a 3.8 percent investment tax and a 0.9 percent surcharge on wages above $250,000.

And some businesses, too, could win if they see an opportunity to stop offering workplace insurance. The GOP plan drops an ACA requirement that companies with more than 50 employees provide their workers with affordable health-care insurance.

Trumpcare, perhaps better dubbed GOPcare, is really just a tax cut for the rich masquerading as a health care plan.

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