CBO and JCT score the House GOP health bill. They estimate that in 2018, about 14 million people who would have had insurance under the Affordable Care Act would lose coverage. Once the American Health Care Act’s proposed cuts in Medicaid take effect in 2020, the number of people losing insurance would rise to 21 million, and by 2026, it would increase to 24 million. The combination of Medicaid spending cuts and lower costs for insurance subsidies would more than offset lost revenue from the bill’s tax cuts and decrease federal deficits by $337 billion from 2017-2026.
Be careful what you wish for—and how you get it. TPC’s Len Burman offers a warning to Congress as it considers rushing repeal of the ACA through the fast-track budget reconciliation process. Len reviews the history of ACA’s enactment—at the time considered quite the rush job by some. He finds that a 3.8 percent levy on net investment income of high-income households was designed as a “Medicare contribution,” but the money never got to the Medicare trust fund. Why? Congress omitted one sentence in the final bill. “GOP lawmakers might double and triple check their legislation before submitting it.”
Another take on Trump and tax reform. Columbia University economist Glenn Hubbard, who served as economic advisor to both President George W. Bush and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, thinks President Trump’s administration could generate 4 percent annual economic growth “in the short term with good policy.” He warns against trade barriers, however, and made a push for tax reform, the “earlier the better.” As for the border-adjustable tax: “I would be very careful about making a change that large.”
Tax liquor instead of feminine hygiene products, say some California lawmakers. Last fall, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill to repeal the sales tax on feminine hygiene products. The measure could have saved California women $20 million-a-year in taxes, but the state couldn’t afford the revenue loss. Now some legislators have an alternative. Assembly Bill 479, or the Common Cents Tax Reform Act, would try again to exempt feminine hygiene products from taxation. But it would make up for the lost revenue with an additional $1.20 in excise tax per gallon of hard liquor.
March Madness: Too much lobbying by the NCAA and ACC? A North Carolina state lawmaker introduced a bill to find out whether the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Atlantic Coast Conference violated their tax-exempt status. Assemblyman Mark Brody suggests that they engaged in “excessive lobbying activities” by using “economic retaliation” against North Carolina for passing House Bill 2. The measure, signed into law last year, removes anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. After the bill become law, the NCAA moved its tournament games out of the state. The ACC tournament was held in Brooklyn.
Care to volunteer? The IRS seeks volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), a federal advisory committee that listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns, and makes recommendations for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction. The IRS will accept applications through April 24, which can be submitted online at www.usajobs.gov. For additional information about the TAP or the application process, visit www.improveirs.org and select the “Join TAP” tab.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.