One of the most despicable aspects of Obamacare are the many special interest subsidies and carve-outs for politically favored groups and organizations, such as unions and states whose congressional delegations were bribed into voting for the bill with special treatment.
So when a principled opponent of such unequal treatment steps forward and says “no more” you’d think that his fellow Republicans would all be behind him – but in the case of Senator Ted Cruz’s opposition to H. R. 4414 exempting expatriate insurance plans sold by U.S. companies from the ACA’s coverage requirements you’d be wrong.
The bill that passed the House and that Cruz is now holding up in the Senate was a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-backed bill that primarily benefits big business and does nothing at all for American health insurance consumers or small businesses.
“This bill benefits insurance companies and lobbyists, yet fails to provide everyday Americans meaningful relief from Obamacare,” Cruz spokesperson Catherine Frazier said. “It could well be good policy, but we should be working for all the citizens, especially those hurting the most under Obamacare.”
And Cruz is right to oppose this bill, not only on the general policy that revisions to Obamacare should apply to all consumers, but because hidden in the bill is a precedent that undercuts the phony economics of Obamacare and will lead to even greater taxpayer subsidies in the future.
Take a look at section 3, subsection c at the bottom of page 4 of H. R. 4414. This subsection exempts expatriate health plan premiums from the calculation of exposure to the health insurance tax. Because the health insurance tax is set to bring in a certain dollar amount ($8 billion in 2014; $14.3 billion in 2018; etc.), the removal of these plans from the calculation will increase the burden on other plans purchased by Americans working and living in the United States.
While the increase is only pennies on the dollar per plan due to the small number of expatriate plans, this sets a terrible precedent. On the basis of this precedent, what happens when Republicans decide to eliminate the medical device tax without eliminating the rest of Obamacare?
Naturally, the shortfall will be made up by a general fund appropriation obtained by borrowing the money from China.
Cruz is right to oppose this special interest carve-out and conservative voters need to understand where the opposition to his position is coming from – it’s from big businesses who want special treatment for themselves and from establishment Republicans who don’t like the hypocrisy of their claims that they oppose Obamacare while doing nothing to repeal it exposed.