Monday, February 13, 2017

The Obamacare taxes to repeal

From the AP / Modesto Bee, today. Let's look at them one by one:

A look at the $1.1 trillion in taxes over 10 years imposed by former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The revenue helped pay for the law's expansion of coverage to millions of Americans.
The revenue estimates are by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation. They could differ significantly from whatever Republicans propose in their effort to erase the law and replace it:
—3.8 percent tax on investment income over $200,000 for individuals, $250,000 for couples: $223 billion in revenue over 10 years.
This first one is not surprising for Democrats--Tax other people to pay for subsidizing health insurance. However, as the overwhelming majority of people already insured have discovered, their insurance costs have still skyrocketed. Why? Perhaps we should examine other taxes below for a reason why....
—tax penalty on larger employers not providing health insurance to workers: $178 billion.
This one appears to be the stick to eimployers, as well as a carrot to the health insurance industry.
—annual fee on health insurance companies: $130 billion.
And here we go. We want health insurance to be more affordable, yet we impose taxes upon providers, which they will pass on in higher premiums, which will only drive the price of insurance up? How utterly counterproductive this is.
—0.9 percent Medicare surtax on income over $220,000 for individuals, $250,000 for couples: $123 billion.
In effect, Medicare is now being "means tested" with this action, not in terms of who receives it, but in terms of who pays extra for it.
—"Cadillac" tax on value of high-cost employer provided health insurance: $79 billion.
And here we go again. So if an employer has a generous health care and health insurance perk for their employees, the Obamunist government wanted to punish them. So benefits for these no longer lucky people will be cut. How utterly counterproductive this also is.
—deductibility of medical costs exceeding 10 percent of people's income, raised from prior 7.5 percent threshold: $40 billion.
So when people get hit with a catastrophic emergency, they will find it much harder to deduct it on their income taxes, if at all. "Affordable Care Act", my ass.
—tax penalty on individuals who don't obtain health insurance: $38 billion.
The Obamacare idea here was to compel more people to buy health insurance in order to spread the costs.

And yet, the age upon which dependent children can live on their parents insurance has been raised all the way up to 26! Now while it is true that people 18-25 make few demands upon the health insurance system (other than anti-depressants, a notable exception), the effect of Obamacare, with its sop to Millenial Generation college and postgraduate kids, was to reduce the number of people paying into the health insurance systems, despite this act of punishing affluent people who did not buy health insurance.
—annual fee on makers and importers of prescription drugs: $30 billion.
And here we go again! We want prescription drugs to be more affordable, yet we impose taxes upon said drugs, which will only be passed on in higher prices, which will only drive the price of them up? How utterly counterproductive this is.
—2.3 percent tax on makers and importers of some medical devices, exempts consumer products such as eye glasses: $20 billion.
And here we go again! We want medical devices to be more affordable, yet we impose taxes upon said devices, which will only drive the price of them up? How utterly counterproductive this is.
—$2,500 annual limit on employee contributions to flexible spending accounts for medical costs (cap grows with inflation): $32 billion.
Here's a thought: Why not treat Medical Savings Accounts like IRAs, with unused benefits that can be carried over--and invested--year after year? Naw
—10 percent tax on indoor tanning services: $800 million.
This is like a smoker's tax, only it is a sunbather's tax. Is there proof of sunbather's abuse and massive skin cancer outbreaks? And even if so, wouldn't measured doses in tanning beds be better than variable doses of laying around in the sun outside?

Although I must admit, while I have argued against excessive tobacco taxes before--past a certain point the taxes become punitive penalties rather than revenue raisers--here, they actually WOULD make a degree of sense, helping to finance health insurance and health care while discouraging an unhealthy behavior.

And frankly, since there is a push to legalize pot, THERE is a place to impose an array of new taxes, that could go to finance state and local health care programs for the poor stoners. After all, if tobacco smoke is bad for the lungs, how is weed smoke not?

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