The Congressional Budget Office has weighed in with their assessment of the GOP’s America Health Care Act: Savings of $378 billion over 10 years, 24 million losing health care, and increased costs.
Let’s start with the savings, $378 billion over 10 years. That’s less than the $597 billion we spent on the military in 2015 alone. We can argue about the magnitude of our military spending, but it seems fair to say that the health of our citizens is at least 6% as important as the security afforded by our military. (And by the way, Trump want to increase military spending as we cut health care spending.)
The annual federal budget is roughly $3.8 trillion dollars. If, for simplicity’s sake, we say the annual savings of ACHA is $38 billion, that’s about 1% of the budget. The median income in the U.S. is $52,000. What American would throw one of their family members off of their health care to save $520 a year?
And, in fact it makes more sense to compare the family income with the national economy, which generates about $18 trillion. The savings amount from AHCA amount to less than 0.25% of our gross domestic product ($130 of the income of our hypothetical family above).
Bottom line: Should we throw 24 million people off of health care to save 1% of our budget? Or a quarter of a percent of our GDP?
And by the way, along with the $378 billion in savings, there’s $600 million tax break for the very wealthy, who, lets face it, don’t need a tax break nearly as much as people need healthcare.
“Whatsoever you do…”
ACA (or Obamacare), the plan the GOP is rushing headlong to replace, admittedly could be improved. But it has made more Americans secure, probably slowed the rate of the growth of healthcare in the country, and made a modest step toward providing the sort of care that our economic peers around the world take for granted. It’s not a “nightmare.” The GOP’s AHCA is.
And it’s a lousy deal for America.