Sanders' Response To The CBO Score Is On Point

by Seth Millstein
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of Trumpcare, and it ain't pretty: The non-partisan office concluded that the GOP health proposal would kick 24 million Americans off of their health insurance. But amazingly, that isn't the only problem with the bill, and Bernie Sanders response to the CBO score nicely sums up the problems with the Republican health care proposal. In a press release, he said:

Throwing 24 million Americans off of health insurance, raising premiums for older low-income Americans, defunding Planned Parenthood and giving $275 billion in tax breaks to the top 2 percent is a disgusting and immoral proposal. Last January, Donald Trump promised that his health care plan would provide 'insurance for everybody' that would be 'much less expensive and much better.' Now we know that was just another lie. The reality is that Donald Trump and Paul Ryan’s bill is not a health care plan. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest people in America. It must be defeated.

There are a couple of things worth touching on here, but as far as the big-picture takeaway of the GOP bill goes, Sanders is dead right: Trumpcare, at its core, is a massive redistribution of resources from the poor to the rich, and if implemented, it would flatly violate Donald Trump's repeated campaign promises on health care reform.

Trumpcare would repeal two tax increases that Obamacare levied against the richest Americans: a capital gains and investment tax, and a tax to fund Medicare that only applies to individuals making $200,000 or more per year (or couples making upward of $250,000). Because those tax increases only hit wealthy Americans, repealing them would only benefit wealthy Americans.

As a result, the Obamacare repeal bill would deliver roughly $144 billion to people who make over $1 million a year over the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The GOP bill would fund this by repealing provisions of Obamacare that help the poorest Americans. Trumpcare would scrap the premium subsidies that the Affordable Care Act offers low-income consumers in purchasing health care; it would also end the law's Medicaid expansion, which would dramatically shrink the number of low-income Americans eligible for government-subsidized health care.

In addition, Trumpcare would fundamentally restructure Medicaid itself, placing caps on overall payments to the system. Once again, this would result in less health care for the poorest consumers in the market.

Regardless of how you feel about the health care bill — and most people seem to hate it, both liberals and conservatives — it's undeniable that it benefits the richest Americans by taking resources away from the poorest Americans.

Last but not least, the CBO estimates that these changes and others in the Republican bill would result in 24 million fewer Americans having health insurance by 2024. In addition to being morally abhorrent, this would be a direct violation of Trump's promise to provide "insurance for everybody" in any health care bill he signs.

To be sure, this bill is a long way from passing, let alone becoming law. But make no mistake: In totality, Trumpcare funds a tax break for the rich by taking health insurance away from the poor. No wonder so many people oppose it.