Over at The Hill, Naomi Jagoda wrote, House GOP Bill Repeals ObamaCare Taxes — With One Exception. The “one exception” is the “Cadillac tax.” This is the tax on employer provided healthcare that is considered too good. So if you are in a union that still has a bit of power and get a good healthcare benefit, you get taxed. It’s interesting, but hardly surprising, that this is the only tax that the Republicans thought was worth keeping; it was the only one that affected the middle class.
Now, I don’t have a problem with taxing employer-provided healthcare. I think all such benefits should be taxed. Maybe if they were, we would have a sane — non-job-based — health insurance system. But I see no reason why we should single out some plans and not others. Furthermore, I don’t see this as a big issue. If there was one tax in Obamacare that should have been eliminated, it was this “Cadillac tax.” But the Republicans think just the opposite. Their support for taxes is exactly in opposition to the wealth of the people paying the tax. So if it’s a tax on the poor, they are fine with it; if it’s a tax on the rich, it is the worst thing since slavery, and cannot be accepted.
Why Republicans Hate Obamacare
Ezra Klein wrote, The GOP Health Bill Doesn’t Know What Problem It’s Trying to Solve. But I think he’s being coy. He knows better — he even says as much. On its surface the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is just a way for the Republicans to say that they repealed and replaced Obamacare. But you have to look deeper and ask the question, “Why did they hate Obamacare?” It wasn’t just that a Democratic president passed it. That’s especially true after Obama won re-election in 2012.
As I’ve written about in the past, the Republicans really don’t care about anything in Obamacare except that it taxes the rich. All that stuff about destroying freedom and high premiums and anything else that Republicans ever say publicly is just propaganda for a prols. They hate Obamacare now and they always have simply because it raised taxes on the rich.
One of the taxes is particularly hilarious: medical devices. This is a tax that was created to offset the extra money that medical device manufacturers would make because of extra money that the government would spend on their products. The industry has been whining about it ever since. Given that the AHCA will end up covering far fewer people, this tax should probably be lowered. In fact, given how incompetent the Republicans are and the possibility that they will manage to effectively destroy our healthcare economy, maybe we should get rid of the tax entirely. Regardless, this isn’t the tax that most upsets the Republicans.
It’s Taxing the Rich, Stupid!
The big deal for the Republicans is the tax on incomes over $200,000. It isn’t much — 0.9 percentage points. But if you make $1.2 million a year, that’s $9,000 that you could use to, I don’t know, pay the year’s rent for a family of four living in a rural area. Or a month’s payment on the yacht. You know: a lot of money if you’re poor and almost nothing if you make a million dollars a year.
But as far as the Republicans are concerned, taxes on the rich were Obamacare’s original sin. And if you scoffed at me in the past when I’ve said that, all you have to do is look at this original draft of the AHCA. All the taxes that affect the rich are gone. The one tax that affects the middle class somehow hangs on.
Like any good Villager, Naomi Jagoda tries to justify it, of course, “By keeping that tax, albeit after a delay, Republicans are trying to ensure that their bill will not add to the deficit after 10 years.” But the Republicans are trying to jam this bill through Congress before the CBO gets its hands on it. They already know their bill will increase the deficit. And they don’t care. They just care that the rich pay less in taxes. That’s what’s all about. That’s what it’s always been all about.