Your Money or Your Life? The GOP Wants Both
Many of the implications—and intentions—of this bill are all too clear. By creating massive deficits (even the mention of which I am old enough to remember would once-upon-a-time send Republicans into fainting spells), the legislation becomes the precursor to the GOP’s fulfillment of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) wet dream: the dismantling of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs on which millions of others depend, often for their very lives.
“The tax bill is one enormous attack on our health,” wrote Nancy Altman and Linda Benesch, respectively the president and communications director of Social Security Works, in the Huffington Post:
“It takes away the ability of those with large health care costs to deduct those costs from their taxes. It repeals the part of the Affordable Care Act that seeks to make health insurance affordable. The consequence of that is $185 billion less in health insurance subsidies and $179 billion in Medicaid cuts. All so Republicans can shower huge tax giveaways to their wealthy donors. And those tax giveaways trigger automatic cuts to Medicare.”
Medicare covers about 55 million people in the United States, according to the Kaiser Foundation. Right now, 15 percent of the nation’s population relies on it, and the share is growing as baby boomers get older. These are not wealthy people: More than a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries have less than $10,000 in retirement savings. Many are in poor health or have chronic conditions. They spend a large share of their income on out-of-pocket and uncovered costs, which rise dramatically as a share of their resources the older they get.