As of Saturday, March 18, 2017
To the editor:
Remember back in 2009, when some conservative commentators referred to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as a Marxist ploy?
Now the joke is on Greg Walden and House Republicans. A nonpartisan joint committee studied the effects of repealing the Medicare payroll tax extension and the investment surtax (both used to fund Medicaid expansions and exchange subsidies). It found that the ACA tax repeals would, over a decade, give a $108 billion tax cut to people making more than $500,000 per year.
Meanwhile, the subsidies will be replaced by tax credits. In most cases, this will provide far less financial aid to working- and middle-class Americans who buy their own health insurance. And federal Medicaid funds would get scaled back to pre-Obamacare levels by 2020. This means at least several million low-wage workers will lose health coverage completely, unless state governments step in and raise taxes to offset the cuts. And in the most cruel fashion, the biggest losers from this health care overhaul may be low-income seniors. People needing help with drug addiction will also be left out in the cold due to cuts.
To sum up, the GOP bill would take from the bottom 80 percent, in order to give fairly large tax breaks to the top 1 percent. I think "Marxism In Reverse" is more than a fair label for this agenda!
And the final irony: By undermining health care coverage in the United States, Walden, Trump and the GOP may be setting themselves up for the most socialistic backlash the country has ever seen. More on that in future columns.