Health Team

'Robin hood in reverse': GOP health plan gives break to wealthy

Posted March 15

— The White House has rejected the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office's projections that 24 million American could become uninsured by 2026 under the new Republican plan to replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The AARP and a number of other major hospital groups, though, have rejected the new GOP plan because of how they say it harms older, lower-income Americans. Even though millions could lose coverage, some people stand to gain under the new GOP bill.

Middle class Americans will get more in tax credits, according to Dr. Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Under the Affordable Care Act, which is also called Obamacare, the subsidies for health insurance phase out for people who make roughly $48,000. The Republican plan's tax credits, though, continue for someone making up to $75,000.

Here's what the plan looks like for a 40-year-old person in Wake County who makes about $75,000:

–Tax credit (subsidy) under ACA in 2020: $0

–Tax credit under GOP plan in 2020: $3,000

It's the same for a Moore County, where Oberlander said insurance tends to be costlier

For the same person in Wayne County:

–Tax credit (subsidy) under ACA in 2020: $0

–Tax credit under GOP plan in 2020: $3,000

Oberlander said the criticism that wealthier Americans will do better under the GOP plan are true. Higher taxes on the wealthy—defined as people making $200,000 or more—that were used to help pay for the Affordable Care Act will be slashed. But Oberlander said that could harm lower-income Americans.

"It represents a huge tax cut for wealthy Americans at the same time that it reduces the subsides to lower-income Americans," Oberlander said. "So, this is a highly redistributive health plan.

"It is 'Robin Hood' in reverse."


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