A New Plan to Expand Health Care Coverage — and Contain Costs

A New Plan to Expand Health Care Coverage — and Contain Costs

medical stethoscope
iStockphoto/vetkit
By Yuval Rosenberg

Economists at the Urban Institute this week released a new health-care policy proposal. The plan would leave Medicare and employer-based health care coverage in place but add a new, Medicare-style “Healthy America” marketplace with public and private insurer options for everyone else. The Urban economists say their plan “is less ambitious than a single-payer system (i.e., Medicare for All), but it would get close to universal coverage with much lower increases in federal spending and less disruption for people currently enrolled in employer coverage or Medicare.”

As for the costs, the authors estimate it would be about $98 billion in the first year.

The Washington Post Editorial Board says the proposal serves as a reminder that “there are options that are neither as cruel as the GOP’s miserly repeal-and-replace nor as disruptive as the more sweeping left-wing proposals” for single-payer plans. “In other words, they are compassionate and realistic.” Read the Urban Institute’s plan here.

Kevin Brady Introduces Welfare Reform Bill

File photo of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brady questioning witness at Joint Economic Committee hearing in Washington
GARY CAMERON
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Tax Policy Center’s Daily Deduction reports that Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday introduced The Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services (JOBS) for Success Act (H.R. 5861). “The bill would rename the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and target benefits to the lowest-income households. Although the House GOP leadership promised to include an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit as part of an upcoming welfare reform bill, this measure does not appear to include any EITC provisions.” The committee will mark up the bill on Wednesday

Who Will Pay the AMT in 2018?

The Alternative Minimum Tax, designed to make sure the wealthy pay income tax, will hit nearly 29 million people unless Congress acts before the end of this year
Nick Bhardwaj/The Fiscal Times
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The GOP tax cuts expanded an exemption for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and changed tax breaks that often triggered the tax. As a result, The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Saunders reports, “This year’s AMT is a shadow of its former self. It is expected to raise about $5 billion for 2018, down from an estimated $39 billion under prior law, according to the Tax Policy Center.” The AMT will likely hit some 200,000 tax filers for 2018, down from roughly 5 million who would have had to pay if the tax cuts hadn’t been passed. And the number of people making $500,000 or less who owe the AMT will fall to about 120,000 this year from 4 million last year, a Tax Policy Center economist tells the Journal.

White House Targets Planned Parenthood Funding

A sign is pictured at the entrance to a Planned Parenthood building in New York August 31, 2015. Picture taken August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
© Lucas Jackson / Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would withhold federal Title X family-planning funding from any facility or program that provides abortions or refers patients to abortion clinics. The proposal is based on a Reagan-era rule that required physical and financial separation between taxpayer-funded operations and any abortion services. It would effectively cut off millions of dollars of funding to Planned Parenthood, which receives $50 million to $60 million in Title X funds and which services an estimated 41 percent of the 4 million patients who receive care through Title X, according to The Washington Post.

Democrats Aren’t Running Away from Obamacare This Election

FILE PHOTO: A sign on an insurance store advertises Obamacare in San Ysidro
MIKE BLAKE
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn reports that, after four election cycles of ducking, dodging and tiptoeing around Obamacare, Democrats this time around have “a unified message blaming Republicans for ‘sabotaging’ the health care law, leading to a cascade of sky-high insurance premiums that will come just before the November midterm elections. They’re rolling out ads featuring people helped by the law. And Tuesday, they’re starting a campaign to amplify each state’s premium increases — and tie those to GOP decisions.” Democrats are also focusing on rising health care costs, projected Obamacare premium spikes and prescription drug prices, looking to hang those increases on the GOP.