Can you smell the freedom?

by Nicholas Bagley — Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The central theme of the Republican campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act has been freedom: freedom from Obamacare’s onerous regulations, freedom from overpriced insurance and most of all, freedom from the tyrannical individual mandate.

The Senate has now released its long-awaited alternative to Obama-era health reform. Although the Better Care Reconciliation Act is embattled, there’s still a decent chance that the Senate will pass it. If it does, the bill is likely to become law.

So it’s reasonable to ask: How does the Senate bill stack up when it comes to freedom?

So begins an op-ed that I just published in the L.A. Times. The answer is “not well.”

Because the truth is the bill has nothing to do with freedom. It’s a vehicle for cutting Obamacare taxes, especially on the wealthy. Over the next decade, individuals who earn more than $200,000 and families that earn more than $250,000, will get a tax cut worth$230 billion. The bill also repeals taxes on health insurers, drug companies and medical device manufacturers; in total, the tax cuts amount to more than $750 billion over 10 years.

The need to pay for the tax cuts explains why the bill’s coverage numbers are so dismal. The more you reduce federal support for health insurance, the more people will lose coverage. It’s really very simple. Obamacare taxed the rich to pay for insurance for the poor; the Senate bill zeroes out those taxes and thus eliminates the coverage gains.

Now that the Senate has shown its cards, it’s become apparent just how empty the Republican rhetoric was all along. Trumpcare may liberate wealthy people’s money from the taxman, but that’s about the only freedom it delivers.

Read the whole thing here!

@nicholas_bagley

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About Nicholas Bagley

Nicholas Bagley is a Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.

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