House Speaker Paul Ryan has made a key Republican motive for pushing ahead with the House GOP health plan explicit in recent interviews: passing the health package first facilitates deeper tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations in subsequent tax legislation.Soak the poor.
That’s because the House GOP health plan reduces revenues by nearly $900 billion over the decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), including $592 billion in tax cuts largely for the wealthy. Passing these tax cuts now as part of a health package allows the GOP to offset their cost through cuts to health care spending — particularly in Medicaid, which CBO estimates the House health care bill cuts by $880 billion over ten years. If these tax cuts were part of tax reform legislation rather than being in the health bill, Republican leaders would have to offset their cost on the tax side to maintain revenue neutrality, as they have said they would do, limiting how sharply they can cut tax rates.
Instead, because these tax cuts are in the health bill, Republicans can, in writing their tax bill later this year, make much deeper cuts in tax rates — particularly for corporations — than they otherwise could do....
House Republicans intend to enact both their health and tax packages using a special budget process called “reconciliation.” The key advantage is that reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered in the Senate and so can pass with a simple majority vote, allowing Republicans to pass their health and tax packages without needing the support of a single Democrat. But reconciliation bills must meet certain criteria, including that they not increase the deficit after the ten-year budget “window.” The House GOP health plan meets this standard because it pays for its revenue losses with deep cuts to health coverage for low- and moderate-income families, especially Medicaid.Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Commentary: Ryan Makes It Clear That Cutting Medicaid to Pay for the Health Bill’s Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Enables Deeper Corporate Tax Cuts in Tax Legislation to Follow
Chye-Ching Huang | Deputy Director, Federal Tax Policy with the Center’s Federal Fiscal Policy Team