GOP: Tax Cuts for the Rich, Health Care Cuts for Everyone Else

Rights & Democracy is joining health care advocates, doctors and people who depend on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for health care on tax day to release a joint report from Americans for Tax Fairness and Health Care for America Now (HCAN).

The report, Republican Health Care Repeal Plan: Tax Cuts for the Rich, Health Care Cuts for Everyone Else, details how the Republican plan to repeal the ACA would give billions in tax breaks to wealthy households, insurance companies and drug manufacturers, paid for by cutting the health care of low- and moderate-income families.

Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated this past weekend to demand that President Donald Trump release his tax returns from the last ten years and come clean with the American people about his income, financial holdings and whether he’s paying his fair share into the economy like the rest of us.

While the President has refused time and time again to disclose this basic information to the public, his actions have been loud and clear when it comes to his views on tax cuts for the rich and corporations.

President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan view repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the radical restructuring of Medicaid as the first step toward sweeping tax reform that would turn over trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the rich and corporations while average and low income American families lose health care and struggle to make ends meet.

In a recent interview with Fox Business Network, President Trump said: “We're going to have a phenomenal tax reform, but I have to do health care first. . . tax reform and the tax cuts are better if I can do health care first.”

Today, we’re releasing a report that explains how the Republican repeal plan doesn’t just cut healthcare for 24 million people and raise costs for million more, but also turns over $600 billion in tax breaks—money that currently funds health coverage for families—over the richest 1%, the insurance industry and prescription drug companies.

Join us this Thursday in Montpelier for a Health Care for All Town Hall where you can share your health care story, and ensure that Vermont continues to move forward on creating a universal health care system.

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We are also continuing to call on Gov. Phil Scott to speak out against the GOP's plan to gut Medicaid and Medicare and give tax breaks to the rich. Join thousands of Vermonters and sign the petition.

Repealing the ACA Cuts Health Care and Increases Costs:

  • About 21,000 people in Vermont have health care coverage thanks to the ACA. Not only will the Republican repeal bill wipe out those gains in coverage, but the GOP proposals increases costs even for those who will keep insurance.
  • Compiled data in the report shows that our of pocket costs like premiums, deductibles and co-pays in Vermont out of pocket costs will increase by an average of $3,239 for individuals who buy ACA coverage.
  • Costs for older people increase even more because the repeal bill will let insurance companies charge them more and at the same time reduces the tax credits they get to buy coverage.

Not only would many people pay more, but they will actually get less healthcare. That’s because the repeal bill lets insurance companies go back to charging people with pre-existing conditions more and waters down essential health benefits that come standard in policies now but would be optional for the insurers to provide under the repeal bill. Those essential benefits include prenatal and maternal care and mental health care.

The ACA bill cuts and radically changes Medicaid, which kids, seniors, people with disabilities and poor people depend on for health care:

  • Repealing the ACA also means effectively ending Medicaid expansion in 31 states, including Vermont which has covered 206,000 under Medicaid thanks to the ACA. But that’s not all. The GOP plan abolishes traditional Medicaid as we know it jeopardizing Medicaid even for those who had it before the ACA and shifting more burdens to states.
  • The bill cuts $880 billion from Medicaid over 10 years so that 14 million children, seniors and people with disabilities would no longer be able to get the care they needed.
  • Vermont would need to raise an additional $2 Billion over the next 10 years to maintain coverage for current enrollees, including 49% of Vermont children covered under Medicaid, not to mention the seniors, people with disabilities and poor residents who have no other source of health care.

These cuts in the ACA and Medicaid in the repeal bill are terrible news for families, providers, and state budgets but for not everyone will suffer under repeal.

Meanwhile, the wealthiest households, big health insurance companies and prescription drug manufacturers will be the beneficiaries of huge tax breaks thanks to Republican repeal.

  • The Republican repeal bill includes a large tax cut that only goes to families making more than $250,000 a year—the top 2%—while raising taxes on millions of low-and moderate-income Americans. Millionaires would each receive a tax cut of $50,000 a year, on average. The 400 richest families would each receive an annual tax cut of $7 million, on average.
  • Giant health insurers like Aetna, Cigna and United Health Group will get $145 billion in tax breaks over 10 years from the Republican plan, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. These big tax giveaways are on top of massive profits that the insurers have made on expanded coverage through ACA—the profits of the eight biggest insurance companies increased 32% from 2011 to 2015, rising from $19.1 billion to $25.3 billion.
  • The top five insurance companies would get almost $92 million in tax breaks for deducting their CEO’s pay on their company taxes.
  • Prescription drug companies will also get a big tax giveaway—$25 billion over 10 years—under the Republican repeal plan. That’s on top of making huge profits from gouging consumers: AARP research shows that the average cost of brand name drugs commonly used by older Americans for chronic conditions more than tripled between 2006 and 2015, climbing from $1,788 to $5,897.

On tax day, as many families pay their fair share towards critical programs that support the whole community, it’s time to evaluate who wins and who loses under the GOP proposal for health care repeal. The Republican repeal plan means big tax breaks for the rich and corporations, health care cuts for the rest of us.

(Top Photo: From our March Stand Up for Health Care event at the State House. Thousands of Vermonters have signed a petition asking Gov. Phil Scott to stand up against GOP plans to cut health care.)

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