Republicans Have the Prescription for America’s Healthcare Problem

The 2020 Democrats have a health care problem. We have a cure.

Their recent debates featured a Medicare for All plan that is unpopular and unworkable. It’s unworkable because Medicare for All would cripple the existing Medicare program that millions of senior citizens depend upon remaining as it is.

It’s unpopular because it would ban the private health insurance that 178 million Americans use to their satisfaction. The majority of Americans with private insurance like their coverage despite the inevitable gripes everyone has about insurance.

One thing’s for sure: Taking away people’s health insurance is a political loser—“box office poison,” as they say in Hollywood.

The 2020 Democrats try to finesse what they are doing by promising a “phase-in” and timetables that would delay the final day of reckoning when personal insurance plans would be outlawed.

But the Democrats’ health care problem—their obsession with taking away health insurance Americans want—is not just a theoretical threat somewhere off in the future.

It’s real, it’s here, and it’s now. It’s built into Obamacare.

We’re talking about the Cadillac Tax.

The “Cadillac Tax” is a 40 percent tax on the value of employer-provided health coverage that the government claims is too rich (meaning only that it’s better than Obamacare).

Currently, Americans don’t pay taxes on health benefits they receive from their employer. The Cadillac Tax changes that and for the first time will tax Americans’ health benefits (supposedly) to pay for covering others under Obamacare. But really the money goes to the general Treasury and does nothing to help with health care costs.

Republicans can tell millions of families who like their health insurance they made sure you really can keep it while Democrats want to tax it before they give it to someone else.

The Cadillac Tax actually has a lot in common with Medicare for All.

“Medicare for All” is especially unpopular with union members. So is the Cadillac Tax. American breadwinners traded higher wages for better health benefits. They didn’t do that just so the government could take it all away.

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) says union workers who lose their health benefits under his Medicare for All scheme will get a raise from their employers.

Sound familiar and unlikely? It should.

The Cadillac Tax’s creators claimed employees who lost their health benefits would be made whole with higher wages. That hasn’t happened. Employers are already scaling back benefits, and they are passing on costs, not savings, to their employees through higher premiums, co-pays and larger deductibles. In fact, since the ACA was enacted in 2010, deductibles on health plan coverage have increased 109 percent while wages have remained relatively flat.

Medicare for All promises to outlaw private insurance plans. The Cadillac Tax begins by penalizing them—and not just union plans.  The tax has a built in accelerator so by 2027 as many as 69 percent of employers could be paying the tax just for offering employees a health plan. A Cadillac for everyone, indeed!

If Congress doesn’t do something, the Cadillac Tax will tax popular health insurance plans out of existence even if Medicare for All never happens.

Just as Medicare for All is a political loser, repealing the “Cadillac Tax” is a winning issue for Republicans (and any Democrat who wants to be on the right side of history).

It’s good policy and it’s good politics.

The Cadillac Tax is the most disliked aspect of Obamacare. In addition to being unpopular, it’s unnecessary. Nearly the entire House of Representatives admits the Cadillac Tax isn’t needed and voted 419-6 to repeal it.

A recent poll found 86 percent of voters want to keep their employer-provided coverage tax-free.

Repealing the Cadillac Tax is a big tax cut for working families. It’s also a big win for middle-class workers and union members, the same people most opposed to Medicare for All.

Repealing the Cadillac Tax could be key to control of Congress and the White House.

Last year, Democrats promised voters they would protect Americans’ health care—and took over the House.

Next year, Republicans can say they actually did protect Americans health care by stopping the Democrats from strangling it out of existence.

New polling by Frank Luntz has found that by 4-to-1, voters support members of Congress who vote to repeal the “Cadillac Tax.”

Repealing the Cadillac Tax puts Republicans in the enviable position of eliminating the most unpopular aspect of Obamacare while preserving what Americans like most about the healthcare they have.

President Trump can tell union members in the key states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan he protected their hard-won health benefits from Democrats who want to take it all away.

Republicans can tell millions of families who like their health insurance they made sure you really could keep it while Democrats want to tax it before they give it to someone else.

They can tell voters everywhere they are actually fixing our healthcare system to make it work better while Democrats only have empty promises, schemes and scams.

Repealing the Cadillac Tax would give Republicans a solid health care achievement to show voters.

On the one hand you have Democrats offering Medicare for All, Medicare for None, Obamacare for Now or some other imaginary system that never works out as promised.  (Everyone remembers “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” right?)

On the other hand, you have Republicans saving the health care Americans worked hard for and like—and keeping it from being sacrificed to the socialist gods of the Democrats. It’s a nice contrast.

About Curtis Ellis

Curtis Ellis is policy director with America First Policies. He was also a senior policy advisor with the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign in 2016.

Photo: Malte Mueller/Getty Images

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