Lunes 20 de Febrero 2017

Editorial: Obamacare at Its Mercy

GOP legislators have long sought to eliminate the health care reform.

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Editorial: Obamacare at Its Mercy
Foto: archivo

The dismantling of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has already started in Congress. The Republicans are in a rush to eliminate the taxes that help finance the medical coverage of 20 million Americans – without knowing what would replace it.

The Senate took the first step and it is expected that the House of Representatives will do the same on Friday. The goal is to take advantage of a budget process that would make possible to repeal Obamacare without having to pass any law; meaning, it won’t need 60 votes in the Senate, which will be required for the law that would replace it.

It is still unknown what the substitute of the health law will look like, when will it be approved, and even less when it will be implemented. However, there is an urgency to eliminate it at all costs because that would mean a significant tax cut for the rich.

A Republican criticism of Obamacare was that the reform to expand health coverage was paid for with taxes on the wealthy. Its elimination, according to the Tax Policy Center, means a $33,000 tax cut for taxpayers earning more than $700,000, while those earning between $10,000 and $75,000 will get a tax increase.

According to plans, the tax cut occurs at the moment of the repeal, not the replacement. This will create a gigantic deficit. However, antagonism towards the law is so big that the House passed an especial exception to eliminate Obamacare without having to balance the budget with cuts elsewhere.

GOP legislators have long sought to eliminate the health care reform. Donald Trump took that mantle during the presidential campaign. Now, both cannot agree on when to present an alternative; there is not even agreement on what Trump, the House or the Senate want. This uncertainty is costly, and it is worrying the health industry, especially insurance companies.

The idea that the law can be replaced by a system less costly, with more options, without the taxes and guaranteeing the same coverage is just not realistic.

The only agreement between Republicans is in the fallacy of the Obamacare collapse. While the program needs only small fixes, they need to somehow justify eliminating medical coverage for poor workers and minorities in order to give more money to the rich.

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