What is more important: a healthy baby in a single mom’s household or another new luxury car? Treating a child with diabetes or a golf trip to Scotland? Affordable medications for grandma and grandpa or a wine and dine tour through the French countryside?
These are the policy questions raised by the Republican American Health Care Act (AHCA) – the replacement for the Affordable Care Act – that was being considered by Congress. The Republican answer is a new luxury car, a golf trip to Scotland, and a wine and dine tour through the French countryside.
Amidst all the sound and fury you hear about insurance mandates and medical savings accounts, pre-existing conditions and Republicans attacking Republicans, you will probably not hear that the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans (couples earning more than $250,000 per year) will get a $27 billion tax cut next year under AHCA.
Huh, you say? Here’s how. Next year under AHCA couples with a joint income greater than $250,000 will not pay the 3.8 percent surcharge tax on investment income and the .9 percent surcharge tax on wages they contributed this year to partially pay the cost of the Affordable Care Act. They will not pay these taxes to help support health care for economically poor children, the disabled, people whose employers do not share the cost of health insurance, and people denied the work hours needed to qualify for health insurance.
This raises a personal moral question. If one lives in a society where one earns nearly five times the amount earned by half of the families in society, does one have a moral obligation to help provide medical care for those who are less fortunate? How do you answer this question?