Robber Barons of Healthcare

It has taken a few days for the dust to settle from the introduction of the American Care Act.  My first opinion was that it’s supporters were just being selfish.  Congress is using something as important as our health care to re-apportion taxes from most American workers to the wealthy and wheeler-dealers like themselves.  Call them the robber barons of healthcare.

In medieval times, a robber baron was a noble who robbed, often through tariffs and tolls, travelers passing through their lands.  Today, it applies to those who seek to get wealthy by taking from others.

And taking is what they’re trying to do.  The fundamental Republican objection isn’t to healthcare; it’s about paying for healthcare, and especially if they have to pay for someone else’s healthcare.

Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would be an enormous tax cut, some $144 billion over the next ten years to those earning a million or more annually.  And it would lead to higher prices for most of the rest of us.

There are two ACA-related taxes that are particularly onerous to upper-income users.  One is a surcharge on Capital Gains taxes.  Capital gains are the profit made from selling assets, things like stocks and bonds, real estate, and other investment items.  These investment gains are taxed at a lower rate if they are held for more than a year.  Even with the surcharge, these investment profits still have a lower tax rate than wages.

The second ACA-related tax targeted for cutting is a Medicare surcharge applied to singles earning over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000.

The Congressional Budget Office summed it up as this: An $883 billion tax cut, $274 billion of it going to the richest 2%. $880 billion stripped from Medicaid. And 24 million fewer insured individuals over the next ten years.

Needless to say, many higher-income taxpayers want these taxes gone ASAP.  Call them the robber barons of healthcare.