Repealing the Affordable Care Act is a massive tax cut for high-income families, and since most conservatives believe that high-income families are overtaxed, that’s a key selling point of the idea. Consequently, it’s no surprise that after a year, the House Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare does away with the taxes that the law uses to fund the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies to purchase health insurance.
But while the GOP plan does reduce outlays on both of those things, it doesn’t eliminate either of them. So that opens up a potentially large fiscal hole. And according to House Republicans’ Frequently Asked Questions page, their plan for what to do about this is, well, they don’t have one:
Are you repealing all of Obamacare’s taxes?
Our plan delivers relief from all of Obamacare’s taxes, including dismantling taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, health-insurance premiums, and medical devices.
And we immediately eliminate the individual and employer mandate penalties, which forced millions of people into Obamacare plans they don’t want and cannot afford.
Since 1980 or so, Republicans have rarely let deficit concerns get in the way of enacting a good tax cut, which is what this amounts to. But the fact that they haven’t bothered to find a way to make the budget math work on this raises the question of why they are bothering with the whole repeal and replace rigamarole at all. If the bill is going to amount to a deficit-financed tax cut, then why not just write a deficit-financed tax cut that doesn’t disrupt or eliminate millions of people’s health insurance?