According to Forbes Magazine-Yesterday, three Republican Senators — Tom Coburn (Okla.), Richard Burr (N.C.), and Orrin Hatch (Utah) – put forward a plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. They call it the Patient CARE Act, and my colleague Avik Roy says it is “the most credible plan yet” offered by the GOP.
Except the Coburn-Burr-Hatch plan amounts, among other things, to a big tax increase. The main way that it remains budget neutral is by making employer-provided health insurance plans, which are currently not taxed, partially taxable as income. In fact, this income replaces income that, under ObamaCare, comes from taxing companies, including the tax on medical device companies paid by firms like Medtronic Medtronic and Stryker
This fact has not escaped the notice of some prominent health reform allies. “It is a huge tax increase on workers without any confidence that they will be able to afford health insurance in the future,” says Bob Kocher, a partner at venture capital firm Venrock who previously worked in the Obama administration.
It is “essentially a very large Republican tax increase,” says Ezekiel Emanuel, the Diane V.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and another former Obama advisor. “It’s quite clear the plan is to put a bigger burden on middle class Americans.”
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