Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

I’m Concerned


House Speaker Paul Ryan has introduced a health care plan, that would eliminate two surcharges on the very wealthy, and has helped pay for Obamacare subsidies.

Since 2013, single taxpayers with incomes above $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000 had to pay an additional 0.9 percent Medicare payroll tax on earnings above those thresholds.  They also were required to pay a tax surcharge of 3.8 percent on investment income above those thresholds.

Last December, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center predicted that repealing Obamacare would result in those earning more than $774,000 a year receive tax cuts, averaging $33,000.  And those in the top one percent would receive an average tax cut of about $197,000.

Other benefits would allow the very wealthy to contribute more to Health Savings Accounts, which are used by those, who can afford to put money away for health care expenses.  The Republican plan would increase that limit to cover the deductible and out-of-pocket expenses allowed under high deductible plans.  For individual coverage, it would be $6,550 for individuals and $13,100 for families beginning in 2018.  The current limit is $3,400 for an individual and $6,750 for a family.

The Republican plan would enable the very wealthy to claim tax credits to help pay their premiums.  Under Obamacare, an enrollee who makes more than $47,500 is no longer eligible for those subsidies.  The Republican plan would also allow policyholders to make up to $75,000 and families earning $150,000 claim the full tax credit.  The benefit would phase out slowly until the enrollee reached $215,000 in income or a family made $290,000.

Unfortunately, our Congressional Budget Office may not be able to score the Republican plan until after the House Republican passes the legislation.

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