Remember the date of March 13, 2017. It was the day President Trump was guaranteed his re-election and Republican congressional gains in 2018 and 2020. It’s not complicated. Follow along. The Congressional Budget Office released its study of Trump and Paul Ryan’s plan to repeal Obamacare and begin to reform our healthcare system. It had many numbers. Only two mattered: taxes and spending.
CBO announced that the repeal bill reduces taxes by almost $900 billion and reduces federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. This reduces deficit spending by $300 billion over the next 10 years. Thus the CBO, as official umpire, announced that the GOP Obamacare repeal plan may be enacted through “reconciliation,” the process that requires a simple majority in the House and only 51 votes in the Senate. No filibuster allowed.
Perhaps equally important, the $300 billion in deficit reduction gives Republicans a great deal of wiggle room to amend their basic plan to win votes in the House and Senate to win those 218 congressmen and 51 senators. Tax cuts can be added into the mix. Thanks to the CBO score and the underlying power of the legislation, Obamacare repeal will now pass. The path is clear.
Yes, Democrats tried to focus on the CBO’s guestimate as to how many Americans would choose to buy Obamacare insurance without the threat of fines and taxes. Answer: very few. This speaks to how unattractive Obamacare insurance products were and are.
The GOP legislation empowers, strengthens, and expands Health Savings Accounts and other consumer-directed tools such as Flexible Spending Accounts, and creates high-risk pools to take care of those with pre-existing conditions without burdening all other insurance buyers with those costs. Tax credits will help lower-income Americans afford the insurance they want.
The attractiveness of consumer-driven healthcare and the failure of Obamacare’s insurance products — on price and quality — will drive Trump’s plan forward. Name-calling and dire predictions will not survive contact with reality, or be remembered two Novembers from now.
Passage of Trump’s repeal of Obamacare means the baseline for revenue — against which tax reform must be compared for it to pass inside reconciliation — is about $1 trillion lower. This means that the tax cut/tax reform package will also pass as the power of the lower business tax rate, the immediate full business expensing, and the abolition of the Death Tax and AMT will drive House and Senate members to pass the bill that will spur economic growth in time for the 2018 and 2020 election.