You can’t make it up. After seven years of promising conservative voters they would repeal and replace, and raising tens of millions off the issue, Republicans are now doubling down in support of ObamaCare. In fact, they are actually going to make ObamaCare worse.
As impossible as it may seem to believe, Republicans in Washington and the states are working to bail out ObamaCare and simultaneously bring back ObamaCare tax increases that Barack Obama himself suspended because they were driving up health care costs.
Let that sink in.
In the wake of their faux attempt to repeal ObamaCare, many Establishment Republicans have embraced ObamaCare’s so-called cost-sharing subsidies. Commonly known as CRSs, these subsidies are payments the federal government makes to insurers to help offset the high costs of ObamaCare customers.
It’s clear Republicans were never serious about ObamaCare repeal and now they are in fact actively working to support some of the very worst parts of ObamaCare.
Just a few years ago, House Republicans actually sued the Obama administration over CSRs, arguing, correctly, that the payments were unconstitutional because they had never been authorized by Congress. Permanent authorization of CSRs is now the top health care priority for Congressional Democrats.
Let’s be honest about what these “CSRs” are. These are taxpayer-funded payments that go directly from the federal government to insurance companies that sell ObamaCare policies. You can call them whatever you like; corporate welfare, crony capitalism, but these are unconstitutional bailouts specifically designed to prop up ObamaCare and mask its true cost.
But wait: it gets worse. Much worse. Not only are Establishment Republicans poised to bail out ObamaCare, they are simultaneously going to allow the return of two suspended ObamaCare taxes. In other words, they are going to let taxes go up on their watch.
Congress suspended the ObamaCare taxes on health insurance and medical devices for 2017 because they were raising health care costs and killing jobs. Even Democrats, Obama included, supported the suspension.
The medical device tax crushes jobs, discourages innovation and makes the U.S. less competitive in the global marketplace for medical technology. These are the jobs every economist agrees that we want: high-paying, manufacturing jobs in a growth sector.
Moreover, every dollar medical device makers spend on this tax is a dollar that isn’t spent developing the next medical innovation.
Then there is the ObamaCare excise tax on your health insurance. This part of ObamaCare is particularly insidious. Like all excise taxes, it gets paid by consumers, not companies. So not only are we the taxpayers subsidizing insurance companies, those same insurers have made very clear that they will pass every red cent of this tax squarely on to their policyholders.
But wait yet again: it does actually get worse. In this scenario, Big Business and Big Labor are off the hook. Why? Because they cut a backroom deal to help pass ObamaCare, they are exempt from the tax on health insurance. So this tax is mostly paid by small businesses and seniors. According to a number of studies from actuaries and conservative economists, this tax will raise premiums by about $500 in 2018.
To make matters worse, a group of Establishment Governors from both parties has hatched a plan to suspend the tax on health insurance—but only for certain people on ObamaCare, while letting it return to raise premiums on the vast majority of Americans. This “bipartisan” ObamaCare rescue plan was widely praised by the mainstream media. Establishment Republican Governors are proposing to cut health care taxes for ObamaCare but raise them for small business and seniors—the very people who put Republicans in office.
Both of these ObamaCare taxes are set to go back into effect January 1, 2018. Congressional Republicans could use their majorities to repeal or even just further suspend these taxes. Instead, they are willingly, some might say cheerfully, working with Democrats to bailout ObamaCare.
Don’t be fooled by all the spin coming out of Capitol Hill and all the false promises about repeal and lower taxes. To add even more insult to Mitch McConnell’s infamous “excessive expectations” remarks, it’s clear Republicans were never serious about ObamaCare repeal and now they are in fact actively working to support some of the very worst parts of ObamaCare. At a time when Republicans control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, their real health care agenda—the one that they will actually pass—is all about helping their insurance buddies with bailouts and tax increases.