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GOP Health Bill Would Deliver Tax Breaks to Wealthiest

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Proposed cuts to Medicaid would largely impact the elderly, people with disabilities, pregnant women and children. (Getty Images)
Proposed cuts to Medicaid would largely impact the elderly, people with disabilities, pregnant women and children. (Getty Images)
June 20, 2017

DENVER – Colorado's millionaires could see an average tax cut of close to $40,000 a year if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) becomes law, according to new analysis.

Those tax cuts would be paid for in part by removing more than 270,000 Coloradans from health insurance rolls.

Alan Essig, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, says data from the Congressional Budget Office confirms that the health bill that cleared the U.S. House is less about health policy than tax breaks for the top 3 percent of U.S. earners.

"The end result is 23 million people losing health care coverage,” he points out. “The reason for that is to pay for $660 billion worth of tax cuts that overwhelmingly go to the wealthiest Americans."

Under the Affordable Care Act, low and moderate income Americans have been able to get coverage due to a tax on individuals making more than $200,000 a year, or $250,000 for couples filing jointly.

Supporters of the AHCA say cuts to Medicaid and reversing the program's expansion would reduce the federal deficit and lower health-care costs.

Essig says the majority of Medicaid recipients who could be impacted by cuts would be older Americans, people with disabilities, pregnant women and children.

He adds insurance premiums for an average 64-year-old with an income of $27,000 would rise from $1,700 to more than $16,000 a year.

Essig warns bankruptcies due to medical bills, which have gone down under Obamacare, could be back on the rise.

"Real people will end up losing their health care coverage, and that will impact people's health, people's lives and people's bank books,” he states. “We're going to be going back to where we were, which I don't think is where anyone wants to go."

Last week, a bipartisan group of governors including Colorado's John Hickenlooper wrote a letter in opposition to the AHCA and called for a more open process.

The U.S. Senate has not yet made its version of the health bill public, and has promised to bring it to a vote before the July recess.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO