As if our worst in the industrialized world healthcare system didn’t have plenty of problems to begin with, the Republican tax cut proposals wending their way through both houses of Congress would decimate healthcare for poor and working class Americans in order to finance tax cuts for corporations and the rich.
As currently written, the bills would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over their first ten years in order to pay for tax cuts for the 1%. This creates a powerful incentive for deep cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other social insurance programs that provide a modicum of security for the 99%. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office has determined that a deficit of this size would automatically trigger an annual $25 billion cut to the Medicare system alone.
The final bill may also repeal the ACA mandates requiring individuals to purchase subsidized private health insurance resulting in 13 million more uninsured while raising premiums by 10%. And it could get even worse. In an effort to win over holdout Senators who are doing the bidding of lobbyists for conservative business interests, the Senate is considering adding even more benefits for rich business owners.
Eat the Poor
Not only does the tax bill favor the wealthy and privileged, it perversely gives the biggest rewards to the idle rich–those whose wealth comes from inheritance, drawing dividends and clipping coupons. This is in sharp contrast to the mean spirited, punitive, eat the poor approach embraced by the Trump administration in its administration of social insurance programs.
A recent report from the Sanders Institute lays out how Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma intends to encourage states to institute work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Other actions under consideration would institute co-pays that would make healthcare unaffordable for the poor and requiring drug testing for recipients.
We could only imagine the outcry if the 1% had to pass a drug test and prove that they were working in order to receive their tax cuts!
This Cannot Stand
Passage of these bills will have catastrophic consequences for the healthcare of millions of working Americans. While politicians do the bidding of the rich, the American people are clear on what they want. They want the rich and corporations to pay their fair share. And growing majorities support a single payer healthcare plan like Senator Sanders’ Medicare for All Bill.
The AFL-CIO has set up a hotline that you can use to call your Senators and a number of organizations are planning ongoing local and national actions. Please join them and bring your Medicare for All signs.
Let’s do all we can to stop this callous assault on our health and our pocketbooks. Tell your representatives that healthcare is not a political football. It is a fundamental human right. And it is the job of government to guarantee that right!