GOP tax bill is a vehicle to sabotage ‘Obamacare’

Neil Young once did a live album entitled “Rust Never Sleeps.” Well, neither do evil GOP bastards. Even in defeat, they are constantly plotting and scheming their next move to impose their evil plans on America. They are unrelenting. This is why, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

The latest example of this: Trump personally pushing GOP leaders to use tax bill to undermine Obamacare:

[GOP] leaders took a preliminary step to study Trump’s proposal to include language in the tax bill that would scrap the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, a change nonpartisan analysts say would save the government more than $400 billion over a decade but would also leave 15 million more Americans without health insurance.

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Undermining the Affordable Care Act through a tax overhaul, meanwhile, would probably draw the same type of opposition that earlier efforts did in the Senate, dooming several such attempts to repeal what some call Obamacare earlier this year. Many in Congress say such an effort would destroy Republicans’ chance of passing major legislation this year.

Still, under heavy pressure from Trump, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) said he would ask the Congressional Budget Office to assess the implications of repealing the individual mandate as part of the tax overhaul, the first step toward including the proposal in the bill.

“The president feels very strongly about including this at some step before the final process,” Brady said at a Friday event hosted by Politico. “He’s told me that twice by phone and once in person.”

Brady also suggested he was unlikely to ultimately adopt the change Trump had personally pushed him to make, noting the possibility such a change would sink the bill’s hopes in the Senate.

On Sunday, Using tax legislation to overhaul Obamacare still ‘being discussed,’ Ryan says:

It is still possible that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s central insurance mandate could be added to the bill, with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) signaling in a television interview Sunday that party leaders are still mulling over that decision.

GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee met behind closed doors Sunday to debate changes ahead of a scheduled “markup” of the tax bill Monday. Lawmakers will debate and vote on changes to the measure during the session, which is expected to last several days.

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Repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate could give the tax writers room to make these or other costly changes without exceeding a $1.5 trillion limit on the total cost of the bill over the coming decade. But two GOP officials said Sunday that repealing the mandate might not generate as much revenue as lawmakers hope. Although the Congressional Budget Office estimated last year that a repeal would have a $416 billion positive deficit impact, updates to the nonpartisan scorekeeper’s model have significantly reduced that figure, they said.

Ryan suggested that a repeal of the health-care law’s individual mandate is still up for discussion[.]

The House Ways and Means Committee met on Monday. According to Axios.com, Brady unveils amendment to GOP tax bill, no changes to health care:

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, unveiled a sizable amendment to the GOP tax reform bill Monday night that restores a tax break for employees who receive child care benefits and tightens restrictions on the use of the earned income tax credit, per AP. The amendment also aims to limit the bill’s impact on universities with large endowments.

What’s not in it: There’s no repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which President Trump has pushed for, or other changes to health care. Instead, Brady said he will introduce a “temporary and targeted bill” on ACA taxes once this tax legislation is passed.

Why not? Repealing the individual mandate would likely resurface the same issues that initially sank Republicans’ health care earlier this year, making tax reform harder and putting the party’s next-best chance for a legislative victory in danger.

No worries, the evil GOP bastards are already plotting and scheming their next evil move. Trump readies executive order to unravel Obamacare’s individual mandate, GOP senator says:

The Trump administration has prepared an executive order that would unravel Obamacare’s individual mandate, but has put it on hold to see whether repealing the penalties for going uninsured might be included in the Republican tax bill instead, a GOP senator told the Washington Examiner.

President Trump decided to delay the executive order after Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., pushed for the inclusion of the individual mandate repeal in the tax bill, and has been supportive of its inclusion in statements he has made on Twitter.

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The senator had told the Washington Examiner that an executive order was sitting with the Office of Management and Budget waiting for approval, but an official from the agency denied it.

“There is no EO on the individual mandate at OMB,” the official said.

Asked about the comments, the senator stood by the assertion that the executive order was ready, and said the administration might be being vague in its responses to maintain negotiating flexibility.

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The senator who spoke to the Washington Examiner, who asked to remain anonymous, thinks colleagues could embrace repeal in the tax bill, because the revenue generated “pays for so many tax cuts.”

Though Republicans have said they are committed to repealing the individual mandate, some have said that they are concerned its inclusion in the tax bill would cause the legislation to hit a snag.

Its effects would be similar to the “skinny repeal” bill that Republicans failed to pass this summer after three GOP senators opposed it. The CBO report on the bill projected the repeal of the individual mandate would result in 15 million more people becoming uninsured.

Trump cannot repeal the individual mandate through executive order, but he can direct the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to broaden “hardship exemptions,” which under Obamacare are left to the discretion of the administration. The exemptions allow customers to have ways to get out of paying the fine for not having coverage, which is $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is higher.

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Customers who buy coverage under Obamacare, whether on the exchange or directly through an insurer, are most directly impacted by the individual mandate.

About 6.5 million taxpayers paid penalties for failing to have coverage in 2015, according to the IRS. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that 28 million Americans are uninsured.

Trump’s executive order alternatively could essentially make it against the administration’s policy to collect fines from people who don’t have health insurance coverage, the Republican senator said.

The New York Times recently editorialized, Obamacare vs. the Saboteurs:

Despite the best efforts of the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress to destroy the Affordable Care Act, the law is not collapsing. And on Wednesday, Americans began signing up for health insurance policies for next year through the online exchanges created by that law.

President Trump’s attempts at sabotage have clearly taken a toll on the A.C.A., or Obamacare. Experts say it is likely that one million to two million fewer people will choose health plans for 2018, compared with 2017. That’s because the administration has reduced the open enrollment period by half, to 45 days. And it has slashed spending on advertising and on health care navigators who help people sign up for insurance plans.

Further, Mr. Trump has said Obamacare is “finished,” “dead” and “gone” — and his words appear to be having an impact. A recent poll found that a sizable minority of voters think the law has been repealed. Others are unaware of when open enrollment started (Nov. 1) and when it will end (Dec. 15 for much of the country). The president’s remarks and actions have also scared insurance companies into raising premiums — by about 37 percent for popular “silver” plans, and by smaller amounts for the “bronze” and “gold” plans — because the administration is cutting payments to insurers, and the companies are expecting fewer healthy people to buy coverage.

That said, a majority of the people who rely on the exchanges will be able to buy affordable health plans, thanks to the protections built into the law. About 80 percent of the people who sign up are expected to qualify for subsidies that will reduce the cost of insurance to $75 a month or less, according to government data. The law provides subsidies to single people who make up to $48,000 a year and families of four earning up to $98,000.

It is important that people examine their options. People’s choices and costs will vary based on where they live, how much they earn, the size of their families and other factors. Experts say many lower-income people will be able to sign up for a bronze-level plan with no upfront cost to them. However, these plans include high deductibles and copays. Silver plans will become much more expensive for many families. That’s because Mr. Trump stopped making the payments to insurers that compensated them for reducing deductibles for low-income customers who sign up for silver plans. So comprehensive gold plans may be cheaper than less generous silver plans in some parts of the country.

The biggest losers from Mr. Trump’s disruption of the health care system will be middle-class and upper-income Americans, who earn too much to qualify for subsidies. Many of them could decide to take a chance with their health rather than buy an unaffordable policy. Others who will be hurt include people with modest incomes who, because of the administration’s cuts to outreach, are not aware that they qualify for subsidies.

Cities, states and nonprofit groups like Get America Covered are trying to make up for the Trump administration’s dereliction by advertising the open enrollment period and helping people sign up. California, Massachusetts, New York, the District of Columbia and five other states that run their own health care exchanges have extended their open enrollment period beyond the Dec. 15 deadline for the federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov.

Mr. Trump has a duty to do everything he can to make the health care law function. Seventy-eight percent of Americans say they would rather see his administration improve the law than try to sabotage and replace it. The president defies this large majority at his own peril.

It turns out that Obamacare Isn’t ‘Dead’ Yet, Record-Breaking Number Of People Sign Up Before Deadline:

According to the latest reports, a record number of people in the U.S. have signed up for Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) after it was announced that enrollments for the 2018 healthcare plan were open.

Regardless of the initial confusion among people who thought Obamacare was no longer functional, what with President Donald Trump planning to bury it at every opportunity that he gets, people are starting to register for ACA. The sudden spike in traffic to the site where one can register for Obamacare was noticed after Nov. 1, the day former President Barack Obama posted the following tweet on social media:

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According to the New York Daily News, close to 1 million visitors browsed the site on Nov.1, compared to 750,000 who visited the site on Nov. 1, 2016.

Not only that, more than 200,000 have already enrolled for the plan, which is double the number of people who signed up for it a year ago.

One of the reasons for such an unprecedented surge in the number of people signing up for Obamacare could be because its enrollments for the year 2018 close Dec 15. That gives people a narrow 40-day window to sign up for ACA, since enrollments are closed on Sundays and one also has to account for the Thanksgiving holidays.

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The surge in Obamacare registration happened despite the prediction by Standard & Poor last week that enrollment could drop by as much as 1.6 million from last year’s 12.2 million signups, due to the current administration’s efforts to dismantle ACA. However, Trump’s multiple efforts to “repeal and replace” Obamacare has so far been shot down by the Congress, giving people a slight ray of hope that ACA might not go extinct in the very near future.

One way to resist this unrelenting GOP sabottage of “Obamacare” is to sign up for health insurance and to drive up the participation rate. Another is “eternal vigilance” — keep a close eye on what Tea-Publicans try to sneak into their tax bill.

There are three ways in which people can apply for Obamacare. People can either visit the site healthcare.gov to self-enroll or pick up the phone and call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325), which is open 24 hours in a day. If people require further information regarding the process of enrollment or more details about the healthcare offered under the plan, they can call toll free 844-644-5443 with their queries.

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