After seven years, House Republicans finally unveiled the American Wealthcare Act…. (More)
Of course they’re not calling it that, but let’s face it … any ‘healthcare’ bill that includes a big tax cut for insurance companies that pay their CEOs more than $500,000 a year isn’t really about health care. And yes, this bill really does that:
One provision in the House GOP’s proposed Obamacare replacement plan would essentially incentivize major corporations to overpay their top executives - offering a tax break to insurers that pay CEOs more than half a million dollars per year.
For squirrels, ‘health insurance’ means “avoid things that want to eat you.” So I asked a financial advisor, Wesley Wainwright-Williams, to explain the new bill:
Squirrel@BPI: Hi, umm … well, for starters, what should I call you?
WesWuvsWealth: You may address me by my initials: WWW.
Squirrel@BPI: Like the worldwide web?
Squirrel@BPI: Okay. Could you summarize House Republicans new health care bill?
WesWuvsWealth: Certainly. While no bill is perfect, the American Wealthcare Act will help to solve our nation’s biggest health care challenge, which is that too many of the working class go to doctors and hospitals. They crowd the waiting rooms, and proper people like me have to wait longer to be seen. The most recent estimates say there’ll be 15- to 20-million fewer of those people clogging up the system.
WesWuvsWealth: Plus the American Wealthcare Act will replace income-based premium subsidies with age-based tax credits. Alas, they won’t be universal so I won’t get one. But anyone who earns less than $75,000 will get the same tax credit, based on their age: $2000 for people under age 30, stepping up to $4000 for those over 60.
Squirrel@BPI: But the bill lets insurers charge 60-year-olds five times more than 20-year-olds, so only doubling the tax credit makes no sense. Most older Americans won’t be able to afford the estimated $10,600 annual premiums.
WesWuvsWealth: Exactly. Young people are usually healthy. It’s older people who clog the waiting rooms, because they get sick or because they bring their teenagers in for a broken this or a bleeding that. It’s unseemly, and unnecessary.
Squirrel@BPI: Er … moving on. What else is in the new bill?
WesWuvsWealth: Lots of tax cuts for people like me.
Squirrel@BPI: Won’t that break the budget?
WesWuvsWealth: You can’t prove that, because House Republicans plan to start voting on the bill before the Congressional Budget Office can score it.
Squirrel@BPI: So basically this is a plan to take money from hardworking Americans and give it to rich people. No wonder conservatives like it.
WesWuvsWealth: Au contraire. Real conservatives say it doesn’t go far enough. I mean, sure, it defunds Planned Parenthood and prevents tax-subsidized insurance plans from covering abortion, but they didn’t go back to letting insurers charge women more. And we know ‘lady problems’ like pregnancy are expensive. Fortunately, the bill may let states cut maternity benefits from Medicaid. Those people shouldn’t be having children anyway.
Squirrel@BPI: In short, it’s an I’ve Got Mine and F–k the Rest of You bill.
WesWuvsWealth: We prefer to think of it as restoring personal responsibility for health care. For example, by putting a per-capita limit on Medicaid payments, we send a clear signal: if you can’t afford cancer treatments, you have no business getting cancer.
Squirrel@BPI: May I invite a hungry grizzly bear to gnaw off your leg?
WesWuvsWealth: Now please. There’s no reason to get nasty….
Photo Credit: Ervins Strauhmanis (CC-BY 2.0)
Good day and good nuts