Healthcare Prescription: Give CEO’s $400 million and don’t call in the morning

They say the devil is in the details. True enough, it turns out, if you read the fine print in the Republicans’ Obamacare-overhaul plan unveiled Tuesday.

What’s leaving mouths most agape is a provision of the so-called American Health Care Act that would put nearly a half-billion dollars into the pockets of top health insurance company executives in the next ten years.

These are the same big-wigs who gave Republican House and Senate candidates more than $20-million in last year’s elections. So, if you think buying that Chinese-made “Make America Great Again” cap earned you any influence in shaping the GOP healthcare bill, think again.

You were way outbid by the other side.

As it stands under Obamacare, healthcare execs can write off up to $500,000 of their own salaries as a business expense, come tax time.  The GOP plan would remove that limit, allowing write-offs of the execs’ full salaries.

As you can see in the chart below, those salaries — and the tax revenue derived (or lost under the Republican plan) — could be astronomical.

For those of you gawking at those numbers incredulously, let us put them in context. David Cordani (CEO of Cigna) makes more in one day than 98.5% of Americans make in a year.  Who thinks there is steam coming out of Bernie Sanders’ ears?

It’s estimated the change would cost some $400-million in lost tax revenue over the next decade — a price-tag left for the rest of us to pay.

So the take-away here is … you get what you give and it looks like you didn’t give enough. Here’s a lollipop, sucker.

 

UPDATE 3/8/17: Real world consequences 

Martha Brawley of Monroe, N.C., said she voted for President Trump in the hope he could make insurance more affordable. But on Tuesday, Ms. Brawley, 55, was feeling increasingly nervous based on what she had heard about the new plan from television news reports. She pays about $260 per month for a Blue Cross plan and receives a subsidy of $724 per month to cover the rest of her premium. Under the House plan, she would receive $3,500 a year in tax credits — $5,188 less than she gets under the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m scared, I’ll tell you that right now, to think about not having insurance at my age,” said Ms. Brawley, who underwent a liver biopsy on Monday after her doctor found that she has an autoimmune liver disease. “If I didn’t have insurance, these doctors wouldn’t see me.”

Guess Martha bet on the wrong horse. Also guessing she isn’t alone in feeling a deep sense of remorse.

 

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