Here we go … again!
U.S. Senate Republicans have come up with a scheme to pay for the big tax cut they’re trying to enact that involves the Affordable Care Act. They want to repeal the individual mandate portion of the ACA, which they say will save more than $300 billion over the next decade.
The savings would be used to pay for the tax cuts being pitched for many wealthy Americans.
This is so very maddening, in my ever-so-humble view.
Congress has been unable to repeal the ACA and replace it. The president has been unable push his Republican pals across the finish line. They have tried and failed since long before Donald Trump took office as president of the United States.
Now comes this bit of Senate trickery: attach the individual mandate repeal to a tax cut they say would jumpstart the economy. Moreover, is anyone on Capitol Hill or the White House worried any longer about the national debt and our annual budget deficit, which economists say are going to explode under the GOP tax cut?
I want to make a couple of points.
One is that the economy is rocking along just fine. The U.S. Labor Department announced earlier this month that non-farm payrolls jumped by 260,000 jobs in October; the unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in 17 years. Not bad, man!
Two, enrollment for the ACA is moving along at a brisk pace. Hundreds of thousands more Americans signed up for insurance when open enrollment began at the beginning of the month, despite the president’s efforts to undermine the ACA.
I remain totally opposed to any wholesale repeal of the ACA. I continue to insist that it can be improved. It can be made more affordable.
Removing the individual mandate — which requires Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty — is certain to do one thing: It will toss millions of Americans off the rolls of the insured.
How is that supposed to help?