Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This is where the mask slips, for all to see

I suggest reading the whole article.

By Jay Bookman
March 14, 2017

In an interview Monday night on Fox News, House Speaker Paul Ryan repeated his claim that having read the entire CBO report on his party’s proposed Obamacare replacement plan, “I’m pretty encouraged by it and it actually exceeded my expectations.”

If you’re encouraged by that report, anchor Bret Baier asked in disbelief, what kind of CBO report would it take to discourage you?


Note that Ryan links the $880 billion in proposed Medicaid cuts directly to the $880 billion in proposed tax cuts, as he should. He’s excited about that fact. He likes it. He’s not the least bit bothered by the CBO projection that those cuts will strip health insurance from 17 million of his fellow Americans who have no other source of coverage — senior citizens in nursing homes, children living in poverty. This is his Ayn Rand fantasy made true.

Nor does he mention that almost all of that $880 billion tax cut would benefit already wealthy Americans. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, middle-income Americans would see a tax cut under the GOP bill that averages $300. The top 1 percent — those already making $772,000 or more — would see their after-tax income jump by $37,240. The top 0.1 percent — those with incomes of $3.95 million and above — would reap an additional $207,390 on average.


Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price insists they’re “just not believable” and “virtually impossible.” (It’s worth noting that in his former role as House Budget Committee chair, Price helped to handpick conservative economist Keith Hall, the CBO director who led the drafting of this report.)

The problem with Price’s claim is that private-industry assessments of the proposed bill have produced numbers much like those of the CBO.


A couple just scraping by on an income of $25,000 would see their out-of-pocket cost for health insurance jump by as much as $19,000 in a high-cost market such as Mobile, Ala. Even in a low-cost area such as Reno, they would have to pay an additional $10,920 for coverage.


As the chart illustrates, even a middle-income couple — the median household income in this country is a little over $50,000 — would see significant out-of-pocket increases in the cost of health insurance, so significant that most would simply be unable to afford it. They too would be forced to drop coverage; they too can be added to the 17 million.


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