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GOP health bill: Big tax cuts for rich, not much for others

A closed corridor adjacent to the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., leads to the Strom Thurmond Room on Hill Capitol in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017, where the GOP health care bill has been written. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millionaires would get tax cuts averaging $52,000 a year from the Senate Republicans’ health bill while middle-income families would get about $260, according to a new analysis of the foundering bill.

The analysis was done by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. It found that half of the tax cuts would go to families making more than $500,000 a year.

Senate Republican leaders were scrambling Tuesday to rally support for the bill but had to delay a vote this week because it lacked adequate support. The disputes, however, were not related to tax provisions.

Moderate Republicans were concerned that too many people would lose health coverage under the bill while conservatives said it wouldn’t do enough to reduce premiums.

The Republican health bill would repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health law. The law imposed a series of tax increases targeting mainly high-income families. The Senate Republican bill would repeal the taxes, though not all at once.

“The Senate bill would cut annual household taxes by about $670 on average. But the variation among income groups would be very wide,” Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center wrote on the group’s website.

“Much like the House-passed American Health Care Act, the Senate leadership’s health bill includes a huge tax cut that mostly benefits the nation’s highest-income households,” Gleckman said.

For example, families making $20,000 a year would get an average tax cut of about $200. But the super rich, those making $5 million or more, would receive an average tax cut of nearly $250,000.

The bill would repeal a tax on wealthy investors, saving them about $172 billion over the next decade.

Obama’s health law enacted an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income for married couples making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $125,000. The Senate bill would repeal the tax this year.

The bill would also repeal a new Medicare payroll tax on high-income families, saving them about $59 billion over the next decade. Obama’s health law enacted an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on wages above $250,000 for married couples and above $125,000 for individuals. The Senate bill would repeal the tax in 2023.

For families with lower incomes, the bill would repeal a tax penalty for people who do not get health insurance, saving them $38 billion over the next decade.

The analysis looked at the tax savings for families in 2026, once the Republican bill would be fully phased in. The analysis did not include the tax credits that people would receive to help buy health insurance.

Those credits would benefit many low- and middle-income families, assuming that wealthier taxpayers would get health insurance through their employers.

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Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephenatap

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