July 5, 2017 - Douglas Myser


GOP may keep tax. The break from dogma by a party that has long reviled health tax boosts--and most things achieved by Obama--underscores Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's feverish effort to yank one of his and President Donald Trump's foremost priorities from the brink of defeat. The change, proposed by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would give a more populist flavor to the bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that as the legislation is now written, it would boost out of pocket costs for many poor consumers and produce 22 million uninsured people while cutting around $700 billion in taxes over a decade--largely for richer people and the health care industry. GOP may keep tax.

"You're increasing the burden on lower income citizens and obviously alleviating the burden on the wealthy. That is not an equation that works." Corker said. He said he was "very confident" that leaders would address the issue in the updated bill. Top Republicans also considered an amendment pushed by conservatives to let insurers offer plans with low premiums and scant benefits. To do so, a company would also have to sell a policy that abides by the consumer friendly coverage requirements in Obama's 2010 statute, which the GOP is struggling to repeal. Both proposals were encountering internal Republican opposition, and it was uncertain either would survive. But the effort underscored how McConnell, R-Ky., needed to mollify both wings of his divided party to rescue his health care legislation which he wrote secretly but has floundered.

Under Corker's proposal, the bill would retain Obama's 3.8 percent health IRS tax increase on investment income for married couples making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $125,000. Keeping that increase would save $172 billion over 10 years, and moderates want to use that health tax money to make coverage more affordable for pooRer consumers. "If it takes something like that to get our members on board to move this process forward, I think we have to consider that," said No. 3 Senate GOP leader John Thune, of South Dakota.


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