Battle lines in tax reform fight: Democrats lay out demands

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I read with interest and some dismay Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick's recent press release concerning a bipartisan outline for health care legislation.

The debate over repealing Obamacare has been dominated by talk about those potentially uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions.

Matt O'Brien is a writer for Wonkblog, covering economic affairs. The problem is that popular vote loser Donald Trump is still threatening to sabotage Obamacare, and some Republicans believe he has to be stopped.

Then he made a speech that former senator Joe Lieberman said was "one of his finest hours".

Last week saw the introduction of a couple of immigration bills - but the mainstream, bipartisan compromise looks different, pairing enhanced border protection with a pathway for legal status for people now in the country.

Things got ugly very quick. Intra-party divides exist there, too.

Why did no Democrats offer any suggestions? It showed that even though Republicans are in power and share common goals, they don't always agree on the fine print. Lamar Alexander, who heads the committee that handles health legislation, announced hearings for next month and endorsed legislation that stabilizes Obamacare at least through next year.

Republicans had successfully sued the Obama administration over this, but the case is still under appeal - an appeal that Trump could drop if he so chooses (although state attorneys general could pick it up). If Republicans won't offer a solution or don't have the willpower to pass any of their own proposals, they can not sit back and expect that Democrats will accept the failures of the ACA. Bought and paid for is more like it!

So why no bipartisan amendments to ACA's price controls and larded-up "essential" benefits? As a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association statement read Wednesday, "A system that allows people to purchase coverage only when they need it drives up costs for everyone". The GOP plan would in effect raise taxes on people most likely to be politically engaged, to donate to candidates, and to favor candidates who won't raises their taxes.

Fast-forward to 2017, ObamaCare is no longer some abstract idea passed by members of Congress who couldn't even be bothered to read the bill because, after all, they weren't going to have to live under it. Trump may also decide to end the taxpayer subsidy of Congress's health care, which amounts to around $12,000 per employee. Unfortunately, they seem to be lacking in Alexanders.

The ACA is not flawless and needs fixing.

Consider, for example, the really big cash sinkhole: Medicaid.

They're not fully enforcing the individual mandate, which eliminates funding that helps pay for the law and decreases costs. Then the states and managed-care contractors would lose the constant flow of federal dollars for patients who are not getting care. If you doubt that, the case of Charlie Gard just demonstrated it. "It's important in that it requires the majority to work with the minority and come to a compromise".

Trump did warn us that there was going to be so much winning, we'd get sick and exhausted of winning.

"We are always looking for best ways to improve and fix the broken Obamacare system", she said in an email.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that while high-income households may see a cut in their top income tax rate, many won't actually pay less because a lot of their deductions would go away.