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Tax scam Archives — Protect Our Care

Here We Go Again: House Republicans Target Health Care for More Tax Cuts For The Rich

Washington, D.C. –  As reported today in the Wall Street Journal, House Republicans are once again preparing to give hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to drug and health insurance companies and ignoring the clear message from the midterms to end the GOP war on health care. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:

“Voters sent a clear message in the 2018 elections — end the GOP war on health care and stop attacking protections for pre-existing conditions. But instead of listening to their constituents, this latest GOP proposal is just another massive tax break for large drug and health insurance companies.  While their profits and CEO compensation soars, Americans pay more for their drugs and health care premiums. Make no mistake, Americans are fed up with the relentless Republican sabotage campaign and their ongoing support for President Trump’s effort in the courts to declare protections for pre-existing conditions unconstitutional.”

 

BACKGROUND:

Last December, Congressional Republicans Used The Tax Bill As A Vehicle To Sabotage The Affordable Care Act. By using the tax bill to repeal the requirement that most people have insurance, it Republicans are expected to increase the number of uninsured Americans by 12 million. In 2021, the repeal of the individual mandate is expected to save $30.6 billion from health care cuts, savings resulting from 12 million Americans losing health insurance. In that same year, the tax cuts for millionaires total $29.8 billion.

Drug Companies Are Reaping The Benefits Of Republicans’ Last Tax Bill While Americans Pay More. The health industry brought in $51.8 billion in profit during the third quarter — approximately 63 percent of which went to drug companies. Of 19 companies in the health industry that amassed at least $1 billion in third-quarter profit, 14 were drug companies. Axios reports that “Drug firm AbbVie paid $14 million of income taxes on $2.76 billion of pre-tax earnings in the third quarter — an effective tax rate of just 0.5%. Pfizer’s effective tax rate in Q3 was 1.6%.” These astronomical earnings come during a year during the first seven months of which there were 96 price hikes for every price cut.

House Republicans Pass More Tax Cuts for the Rich

“What this bill really means is more Republican health care cuts for the rest of us, and the American people are sick of it,” says Brad Woodhouse

Washington, DC – Today House Republicans passed a second set of tax cuts to benefit the wealthiest Americans and big corporations at the expense of working families. Their tax cuts have led to trillion dollar deficits, which Republicans are now using as an excuse to go after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:

“What this bill really means is more Republican health care cuts for the rest of us, and the American people are sick of it. Since Paul Ryan and his allies have repeatedly made it plain that they will pay for these tax breaks for the wealthy by making deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, today’s vote calcifies the damage Republicans are doing to America’s working families and seniors all so they can give handouts to wealthiest. Thankfully, Americans see right through this Republican tax scam and are ready to give it a giant thumbs down at the polls in November.”

 

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

President Trump and Congressional Republicans are targeting Medicaid and Medicare to pay for their tax cuts to the wealthy. Earlier this month, Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, confirmed that they still have their sights set on Americans’ care. Asked when programs like Social Security and Medicare will be looked at for reforms, Kudlow replied, “Everyone will look at that — probably next year.” And last December, when President Trump signed the first round of $1.5 trillion tax bill that disproportionately benefits the wealthy, Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear they would cut programs like Medicaid that support working families. “Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt.” Since that time:

Following Massive GOP Tax Cuts, Administration Predicts Medicare Trust Fund Will Be Depleted In 8 Years. “The financial outlook for Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund deteriorated in the last year, and Social Security still faces serious long-term financial problems, the Trump administration said on Tuesday. The projections are the first from the administration since President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax cut into law in December. They show no sign that a burst of economic growth will significantly improve the finances of the government’s largest entitlement programs. The Medicare trust fund will be depleted in 2026, the administration said. By contrast, the government said last year that the trust fund would be exhausted in 2029.” [New York Times, 6/5/18]

Shot/Chaser: Senator Collins’ Deciding Vote For The GOP Tax Bill Could Mean End of Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

“If the Republicans on this case succeed in taking health care away from millions of Americans, Susan Collins owns it,” said Leslie Dach, campaign chair of Protect Our Care.

SHOT: Sen. Collins and Republicans in Congress voted for a tax bill that opened the door for 20 Republican attorneys general and governors — all of them hellbent on overturning our health care — to use to the courts to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions in a lawsuit heard by conservative U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor yesterday.

  • Modern Healthcare: “O’Connor gave only cursory treatment to the baseline question of whether the individual mandate without an accompanying penalty could stand as constitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision to uphold the ACA through the mandate as a tax.”
  • Axios: “O’Connor even wondered if this might have been Republicans’ endgame all along — that they zeroed out the mandate penalty secure in the knowledge that it could reopen the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision upholding the mandate.”

CHASER: If Judge O’Connor rules in favor of the 20 Republican state officials, Sen. Collins and every House and Senate Republican who voted for the GOP tax bill will own the consequences to the American people. And those consequences are serious. Critical Affordable Care Act protections could vanish overnight, unleashing — as the Trump Administration itself admitted — “chaos” in our entire health care system.

  • 17 million more people could lose their coverage in a single year, leading to a 50 percent increase in the uninsured rate
  • Protections for 130 million people with pre-existing conditions, if they buy coverage on their own, would be gone.
  • The Medicaid expansion, currently covering 15 million people, could vanish.
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs, would be eliminated.
  • No longer would kids be allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits? Gone.
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women and people over age 50? Nope.
  • Limits on out-of-pocket costs would be eliminated.
  • Small business tax credits would be gone.
  • Marketplace tax credits for up to 9 million people? Not anymore.

 

Five Ways the Trump Administration is Dismantling Medicaid and Medicare

Today marks the 53rd anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare, two crucial health programs that serve as a lifeline to more than one-third of Americans. Despite the essential health care services these programs provide 125 million people, President Trump and Congressional Republicans have worked to dismantle Medicaid and Medicare. Here’s how:

  1. As the cost of drugs skyrocket, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress will not allow Medicare to negotiate for better prescription drug prices. Under current law, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is explicitly prohibited from negotiating directly with drug manufacturers on behalf of Medicare Part D enrollees. Although it would decrease both federal spending and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, a policy allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries was noticeably absent from President Trump’s recent prescription drug announcement.

  2. President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have repeatedly tried to slash funding for Medicaid and impose per-capita caps on coverage. Last year, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) repeal bill, which included a per capita limit on federal Medicaid spending that would have resulted in huge cuts to Medicaid across states. After failing to pass the AHCA in the Senate, Republicans have continued to launch relentless attacks on Medicaid. Last December, the Trump Administration budget called for $1.4 trillion in cuts to Medicaid.

  3. The Trump Administration is encouraging states to impose work requirements and other bureaucratic restrictions on Medicaid enrollment in order to deny coverage. Experts warn that work requirements are fundamentally bureaucratic hurdles designed to restrict access to health care rather than increase employment. Previous examples show that requiring enrollees verify their employment or work-related activities will reduce enrollment among those eligible for Medicaid.

    Requiring people to work to maintain Medicaid coverage is particularly burdensome for older adults. Less than half of American adults ages 55 to 64 work. Some are retired, and for many others, chronic health conditions make it difficult to maintain steady employment.

  4. President Trump and Congressional Republicans are targeting Medicaid to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest. Last December, President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that disproportionately benefits the wealthy. How do Republicans plan on paying for it? Speaker Ryan’s answer is clear: “Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt.” In an attempt to pay for these tax cuts, in April, House Republicans passed a budget amendment that would slash Medicaid funding by $114 billion in a single year alone.

  5. Congressional Republicans have also repeatedly voted to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest by cutting funding for Medicare. The 2018 budget resolution passed by Republicans in December 2017 cut Medicare by $473 billion and more recently, the FY2019 budget passed by Republicans on the House Budget Committee cuts Medicare by an additional $537 billion.

As we celebrate this important health care anniversary, Protect Our Care calls on our leaders to protect health care for our most vulnerable and end their assault on the health and wellbeing of the millions of Americans who rely on Medicare and Medicaid.

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Susan Collins & Seema Verma Had Their Chance to Lower Rates & They Blew It

Washington, D.C. – After Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) bragged about discussing rising premiums with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Campaign Chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Senator Collins talking to Administrator Verma about Republican rate hikes is about as much help to working families as two foxes chatting in front of a chicken coop. Senator Collins’ ‘plan’ for lowering premiums was to vote for a TrumpTax bill that raised them by double digits, while Administrator Verma’s ‘plan’ is to sell junk insurance that doesn’t cover essential medical care and allows companies to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Last fall, Senator Collins had a clear opportunity to tackle rising premiums, and she missed the boat. She could have voted against the GOP tax bill and kept her promise to pass a bipartisan market stabilization package to undo some of the Trump Administration’s own sabotage. Instead, she did neither. Senator Collins and Seema Verma can discuss rising premiums until the cows come home, but in fact, it’s their policies that got us into this mess in the first place.”

Washington Post Report: Latest Example of GOP’s Health Care Winners and Losers

The Washington Post recently reported that “health industry giants get tax windfall” in a story about all the way big health insurance companies are benefiting from massive tax breaks in the TrumpTax.

Health industry giants get tax windfall. But it’s unclear how it will be used.

Washington Post // Paige Winfield Cunningham // April 18, 2018

[…] “One thing is for sure, however: the tax overhaul certainly unlocked more profits for the industry. It not only lowered the domestic corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, a huge boon to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, but it also enticed drug and biotech companies to bring home huge overseas cash reserves by slashing taxes on those earnings, too.

“Pfizer, which has been mentioned as a potential buyer of Shire, announced an extra $10.7 billion in reported income for 2017 because of the tax changes. Allergan, UnitedHealth and Anthem have also recorded a benefit from the tax overhaul, according to a recent analysis by Bloomberg.

“Indeed, all five major U.S. health insurers have announced the tax overhaul will increase their revenue this year.”

But, for people who work for a living, the TrumpTax means higher health care costs.

  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that the premiums will go up 10% each year because of the TrumpTax.

  • A recent Urban Institute Urban study found that premiums are expected to rise 18.3% due to actions taken by the Trump Administration.

  • And an analysis from by Covered California projected that premiums could rise as much as 90% due to the Trump Administration’s sabotage campaign.

“Analysis after analysis and report after report all show the same thing: big pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies are putting these tax breaks into their pockets while picking the pockets of working people through higher health care costs. This analysis only further underscores the most basic and predictable result of the TrumpTax: America’s largest health corporations are seeing huge profits while continuing to raise Americans’ health care costs,” said Brad Woodhouse, Protect Our Care Campaign Director.

New Senate Report: GOP Tax Bill Benefits Drug Companies While Americans Pay More

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) released a major report confirming that none of the country’s ten biggest pharmaceutical companies have used any of their windfall from the GOP tax scam to lower drug prices for consumers, instead passing those benefits along to wealthy executives and shareholders. Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“From the moment the GOP’s tax scam proposal became public, the majority of Americans knew it was designed to enrich the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations at the expense of everyday Americans and our health care, and today’s Senate report confirms it. Americans already pay a higher price for prescription drugs than consumers around the world, and big pharmaceutical companies have refused to lift a finger to provide relief from crippling prices. It’s outrageous that drug company executives are choosing to further line their own pockets instead of addressing the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, and it’s even further proof that the Republican tax bill was never intended to help ordinary Americans, and that it is only making health care more expensive for hardworking American families.”