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New Yorkers voice concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional and state voting districts; and providers ask the Supreme Court to act on Texas' new abortion law.

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The January 6th committee subpoenas former Trump officials; a Senate showdown looms over the debt ceiling; the CDC okays COVID boosters for seniors; and advocates testify about scams targeting the elderly.

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A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Tax Plan Targets Affordable Care Act's Individual Mandate

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017   

DENVER – As Republicans work to bridge divides between the House and Senate versions of their new tax legislation, consumer advocates are warning that the measure could have significant health consequences.

By removing the Affordable Care Act's mandate for all people to buy health insurance, the GOP hopes to keep deficits low enough to pass the law with a simple majority vote.

Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, says that won't help working families in Colorado or anyone struggling to pay for coverage in the individual marketplace.

"It will end up leaving 13 million more Americans uninsured, and that includes an estimated 235,000 Coloradans," he warns. "On top of that, it will increase insurance premiums by double digits every year."

Fox says without the mandate, younger and healthier people could choose to not buy insurance, and that would leave more older and sicker people in risk pools, which would drive up costs. He says Coloradans who already face rising premiums on the individual marketplace could see those costs increase by an additional 10 percent each year.

Supporters of the move claim middle-income families will see losses in health subsidies offset by additional tax cuts.

Fox notes that while tax cuts for corporations will be permanent, cuts for the middle class are set to be phased out. He's also concerned that the GOP's proposal to increase the federal deficit by $1.4 trillion will result in cuts to social programs that middle-class and struggling families rely on.

"In the GOP budget, we know that they ask for $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and another $400 billion in cuts to Medicare," he says.

GOP leaders have promised that tax cuts will boost the economy and pay for themselves. A conference committee is now working to create a unified version of bills already passed in both the U.S. House and Senate.

Fox says Coloradans have about a week to contact their representatives and weigh in on the proposal.


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