Friday, March 24, 2017

Republican plan is Robin Hood in reverse

The GOP wants to take money from Medicare’s trust fund and give it to the rich

By Max Ehrenfreund March 23 at 9:55 AM, WashPost

The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would draw on Medicare's financially distressed trust fund to put money back in the pockets of some of the country's richest people.

Republicans would repeal the Medicare tax, a 0.9 percent surcharge on annual salaries of at least $200,000 for individual taxpayers or $250,000 for married couples. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that over a decade, repealing the tax would forego $117 billion that those wealthy households are currently expected to pay into the trust fund, which is used to cover the costs of health care for elderly Americans.

Repealing the tax would put the fund into “crisis mode,” said Andrew Slavitt, a former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama. Slavitt said the fund could be exhausted as soon as 2024 because of the changes, when President Trump might still be in office.

Other Democratic experts joined in the criticism of the Republican plan.

“How could you possibly look out at America and decide that the problem is that rich people don’t have enough money and the Medicare trust fund is too flush?” asked Jared Bernstein, who was chief economist to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

(More here.)

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