Today House Republicans, with an additional single vote from Democrats, passed HR 1628, the American Healthcare Act of 2017. No bill is perfect, but credit is due to those who were among the 217 ‘Yea’ votes.
That’s because GOP House members did the middle class a favor by shielding them from truly outrageous taxes and premium increases, some of them deliberately set to kick in once President Barack Obama left office.
HR 1628 will now go to the US Senate where changes are likely.
That is another positive, however. Republicans didn’t pass this bill in darkness. They didn’t hire a deceiver like consultant Jonathan Gruber to assist a bait and switch on the middle class. It was Gruber who pointed out American voters are “stupid,” and although he was focusing on the politics of the matter, we heard him loud and clear despite desperate attempts by TV networks and media allied with Democrats to defend his arrogance.
After the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed, premiums began to increase. So did deductibles. Many of us with employer-sponsored policies found ourselves with what amounted to a discount for actual healthcare services. Personally, after an accident I did nothing to cause, I ended up having to fork over a sizable amount of money to a hospital for simple imaging. I didn’t feel any better when the hospital refunded part of that money months later.
By last year, it had become obvious Democrats had blatantly lied about lowering premiums, better healthcare, and “You like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” That’s the only way I can say it. They blatantly lied.
Many don’t realize you’ve been paying a tax on your health insurance, besides the social security tax, Medicare tax, and payroll taxes you hand to the federal government from every paycheck. This never made sense to me, this double taxation. Democrats also increased the amount of money you had to spend before you could take a tax deduction for medical expenses.
Built into PPACA (commonly called Obamacare) were taxes on medical devices, those insurance premiums, over-the-counter medications, health savings accounts, Medicare tax increases, and prescription medicines. The GOP House bill repeals those taxes and others.
HR 1628 is posted online; most of the repealed tax measures can be found in Title II, Subtitle A.
A number of conservative and libertarian publications attempted to warn Americans about the impact of some of these taxes. And many workers began to feel that impact, one reason Democrats suffered tremendously at the polls in midterm elections.
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the only groups acting as watchdog on federal accountability with our tax money, is already praising the AHA:
“CCAGW President Tom Schatz said, “On behalf of CCAGW’s more than one million members and supporters, I am pleased that House Republicans reached an agreement and made good on their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. For seven long years, Obamacare has plagued Americans with dreadful mandates and taxes, which have caused premiums and deductibles to skyrocket, while insurers have been fleeing from the marketplace. Taxpayers can delight in the hope that the Senate will soon do its part so that America’s long healthcare nightmare will end.”
I plan to read the new bill, far shorter than Democrats’ PPACA, and I will follow the bill as the Senate takes it up.
Whatever the outcome, House Republicans have made an attempt to shield the US middle class big tax proponents end up targeting because that sector is easy prey when it comes to federal revenue. For that, and for repeal of all those horrific taxes, I am appreciative.
Credit also goes to President Donald Trump. I don’t doubt for a moment that if he wasn’t in the White House, we would have been stuck with the PPACA until it totally crashed and burned, taking much of the US middle class along for the sorry ride.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 4, 2017)
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