FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Congress Wants to Cut Your Health Care — And Billionaires’ Taxes

Members of the House GOP were in a hurry on May 4 to pass their bill to gut Obamacare. They rushed it through before anyone even had a chance to check its cost or calculate its impact on people’s access to insurance.

Their urgency, however, had little to do with health care. The real reason for the rush? To set the table for massive tax cuts.

Indeed, the House health plan would give a $1 trillion boon to wealthy households and pave the way for still bigger corporate tax cuts to come, as part of the so-called “tax reform” they’re pushing.

Meanwhile, dismantling the Affordable Care Act will cause up to 24 million people to lose their health coverage, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. (Though even that estimate is based on the less extreme version of the bill that failed to pass in April. The new plan may be even worse.)

Why would a GOP politician support an unpopular bill that fewer than 20 percent of voters think is a good idea? Why risk angry constituents showing up at town hall meetings?

Put simply, to please their wealthy donors and Wall Street corporations. For complex legislative reasons, repealing Obamacare’s taxes on the rich first will make it easier for them to slash corporate taxes next.

As the “tax reform” debate begins, prepare for sermons about how cutting taxes for rich and global corporations will be great for the economy. Slashing the corporate tax rate, we’ll be told, will boost U.S. competitiveness.

But if Congress were really concerned about the economy, policy wouldn’t be driven by tax cuts. The real parasite eating the insides of the U.S. economy isn’t taxes, billionaire investor Warren Buffett explained recently, but health care.

In fact, taxes have been steadily going down, especially for the very wealthy and global corporations. “As a percent of GDP,” Buffett told shareholders of his investment firm, the corporate tax haul “has gone down.” But “medical costs, which are borne to a great extent by business,” have increased.

In 1960, corporate taxes in the U.S. were about 4 percent of the economy. Today, they’re less than half that. As taxes have fallen, meanwhile, the share of GDP spent on health care has gone from 5 percent of the economy in the 1960s to 17 percent today.

These costs are the real “tax” on businesses. As any small business owner can tell you, health care costs are one of the biggest expenses in maintaining a healthy and productive work force.

Yet the GOP bill will weaken health care coverage and regulation, which will increase costs and hurt U.S. companies.

U.S. employers, remember, must compete with countries that have superior universal health insurance for their citizens and significantly lower costs. While health care eats up 17 percent of the U.S. economy, it’s around just 11 percent in Germany, 10 percent in Japan, 9 percent in Britain, and 5.5 percent in China.

No wonder Buffett concluded that “medical costs are the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.”

Buffett observed that the House health care bill would give him an immediate $680,000 annual tax cut, a break he doesn’t really need, while only allowing that tapeworm to bore deeper.

For all its limitations, the Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage and the quality of life for millions of Americans. It’s also put in place important provisions to contain exploding health care expenses, slowing the rise of costs.

The GOP plan to reduce coverage and deregulate health care will take us in the wrong direction. That’s a pretty poor bargain for yet another tax cut for the richest Americans.

Distributed by OtherWords.

More articles by:
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail