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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Republicans irresponsibly renege on promises to repeal Obamacare

Cost of Obamacare Businessweek Mar. 27, 3017, p. 41

PHOTO: Chart comparing the cost of health insurance to individuals of different ages and incomes levels that either qualify or do not qualify for a government subsidy, under the existing Obamacare Affordable Care Act (ACA) versus the proposed Trumpcare, which Republicans decided not to vote on in late March and instead chose to keep Obamacare, which they expect will "blowup" on its own so they can blame the Democrats. Key numbers that are shown in the above chart (presumably national averages) say that for a 64-year-old person, with an annual income of $68,200, he or she would receive no subsidy from Obamacare to help pay their health insurance premium that would cost them out-of-pocket $1,275 per month ($15,300 per year) not including deductibles and co-pays. If his or her "household income" was $26,500 per year, then they would only owe $142 per month out-of-pocket for premiums because the government is subsidizing $1,133 per month of the cost. Obamacare can charge the 64 year-old 3 times what a younger person pays, but Trumpcare proposed to allow them to be charged 5 times more. This year, if you make more than $47,520 per year, then you will not get any subsidy from Obamacare. A typical early retiree on Medicare, with a younger spouse who is not yet eligible for Medicare, could easily make this much money from just the sum of both their Social Security checks and company pension checks, and typically their income would be much more because household income also includes earnings on their retirement savings and investments. (My annotations on the above chart were my notes from reading the article by Ben Steverman, "Health Care: Time to Rethink Early Retirement," Businessweek, Mar. 27 - Apr. 2, 2017, p. 40-41, posted online Mar. 23, 2017 as "Want to Retire Early? Good Luck Under Trumpcare".

I am mad as hell at Republicans who reneged on their promise to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, even though I generally support the goals and good intentions of Obamacare, becasue I worry that it will blow up without some critical fixes. I also was counting on the promise that the "Individual Responsibility Payment" penalty if I do not buy Obamacare for a family member will not be charged to me on my next year tax filing, as President Trump has also promised in an Executive Order, which may or may not be upheld by the IRS Tax Court without having been passed by Congress in the form of valid Legislation. I don't understand why Republicans didn't do a quick repeal, even if it took some time to replace it.

I don't want to pay "Individual Responsibility Payment" penalty next year for a family member, whose premiums were $141 per month before Obamacare, but then rose to $241 per month until the health insurance company cancelled all Grandfathered health plans, which forced former policy holders onto the Obamacare Marketplace where the cheapest policy for next year costs more than $600 per month. My only hope now is that an IRS Tax Court will uphold President Trump's Executive Order telling the IRS not to charge people, or hope my income is less than 8.3 percent of the health insurance premiums for next year, which exempts taxpayers from the Obamacare Individual Responsibility Payment.

Under the current law, if our combined household income is over $47,520 per year, we will receive no subsidy from Obamacare, but we still must buy Obamacare, which this year costs over $600 per month in our State just for the premiums, not including the $9500 annual deductible and co-pays out-of-pocket costs before it would pay anything. (Prior to Obamacare, health insurance cost less than $200 per month for a catastrophic plan that was only intended to protect your retirement savings from an unexpected medical problem, instead of comprehensive coverage of small amounts for regular doctor visits.)

Supposedly, President Trump signed an executive order saying we wouldn't be charged for not buying Obamacare, but I can't find a legal copy of it -- the transcript of the video showing him signing it is not clear to me and I am sure that no lawyer would be able to defend his words in court. As a result, I bet there will be an IRS Tax Court case this year to determine if the IRS will be able to force payment of it or not. I watched the Republican's debate on this issue in Congress and nobody supported voting for Trump's Executive Order, so I decided to write the following letter to the editor and also send it to my Democratic Representative:

By choosing to keep Obamacare and not fix it, while expecting it to "blow up," the Republican majority, led by President Trump, is irresponsibly reneging on its campaign promises.

Trump signed an executive order promising individuals would not be charged for not buying Obamacare, but will it be upheld by the IRS Tax Court?

Consequently, Republicans have lost my trust they will not also renege on Trump's promise to let me keep my current Medicare health insurance and Social Security earnings.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: GOP reneges on its promises," Gazette-Times, Apr. 4, 2017, p. A6 posted Mar. 27, 2017)

This issue drew some other letters to my local professional newspaper, such as one by, Theo Dreher, "Letter: Additional proof regarding Trump," posted Mar. 27, 2017, who said, "The spectacular political failure (thank heavens!) marked by the March 24 collapse of the Republican effort to repeal or modify the Affordable Care Act is another data point testing the hypothesis that Donald Trump is unfit to be president." Of course, the Trump-tard trolls posted in response some angry comments that evaded the point that Republicans are not taking any responsibility for their actions.

Now that President Trump has reneged on his promises and declared Obamacare to be his choice, the U.S. Census Bureau says 13.1 million Americans, Ages 55 to 64, aren't working and I bet many will be bankrupted by Obamacare, according to on-the-record speeches by U.S. Congressmen during the Trumpcare debate.

Republican congressmen provided two examples in their districts, such as the 65-years-old person, who has a good pension and Social Security check and is on Medicare, but his 60-years-old spouse, who is mandated to buy Obamacare at the marketplace average of $1275 per month, according to Congressional Budget Office numbers.

A second example was the older, small business person, with a spouse bookkeeper for the business, who are facing unaffordable premiums because they earn more than $47,520 per year of household income, which disqualifies them from any Obamacare subsidy.

Obamacare needs to be fixed and it is very irresponsible of the Republicans, who control all branches of the U.S. Government, to be forcing many Americans to buy Obamacare or risk being bankrupted by an unexpected illness.

The only thing I agree with Trump is that Republicans should be punished in the next mid-term elections.

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