December 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm PST | by Karen Ocamb
Republicans pass historic $1.5 tax bill 

Screen grab of celebration at the White House.

Anxious to get out of town for the holidays, Congress rushed to vote for a $1.5-trillion Republican tax overhaul bill  on Wednesday giving President Trump a year-end legislative victory. The tax plan also eliminates the Obamacare individual mandate, which critics say effectively kills the Affordable Care Act. The new law is a Christmas gift to the GOP’s activist donor base, personally enriches Trump and some members of Congress, adds to the national debt, and cuts corporate taxes at the possible expense of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. – (Karen Ocamb)

APLA Health explains the impact: 

Tax Bill Will Negatively Impact Healthcare for Millions of Americans

Bill Increases Insurance Premiums and Federal Deficit, Will Cause Cuts to Safety Net Programs

This week both chambers of Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the first massive change to the tax code in more than 30 years, and President Trump is expected to sign the legislation before Christmas. The bill gives massive tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy with smaller, temporary cuts to some low- and middle-income individuals and families. The bill adds more than $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit and repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, the requirement that most Americans have health insurance. The repeal of the individual mandate will send shock waves through the health insurance marketplace, increase the number of uninsured and cause double digit premium increases during the next decade.

“This bill is a Trojan horse that will deliver huge tax cuts to the wealthy and add to the already unsustainable inequities in our economy and healthcare system. The repeal of the individual mandate will drive up premiums and lead to greater uncertainty in the insurance market. This will result in worse health outcomes across the board, especially in historically underserved communities,” said Craig E. Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of APLA Health. “This bill is designed to balloon the deficit and will most certainly result in spending cuts to vital domestic programs including Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and the Ryan White Program. Americans across the country will end up paying more—not just with their wallets, but with their health.

“At APLA Health, 55 percent of our patients are at or below the federal poverty level while the average income in Los Angeles County is roughly $56,000. This legislation was not designed for these individuals or families,” Thompson continued. “President Trump promised tax relief for the poor and middle classes. Instead, the Republicans have passed a tax cut for their donors. This is not the legislation that America needs right now.

“Congress still hasn’t passed a budget to fund health center programs, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and other essential domestic programs,” Thompson said. “Americans have been waiting to see leadership from President Trump and Congress, but all they continue to see are broken promises.”

According the Congressional Budget Office, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is projected to lead to 13 million fewer people with health insurance by 2027 and a 10 percent increase in health insurance premiums. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the bill would lead to a roughly $1.5 trillion increase to the federal deficit during the next decade.

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