The Republican Health Care Plan is Depraved, But It’s Political Genius

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This comes as no surprise to anybody, but here is Kaiser’s analysis of tax subsidies under Obamacare vs. the discussion draft of the Republican health care plan that was leaked last week:

The difference is pretty obvious. Obamacare provides subsidies to those who need it most. The Republican plan provides subsidies to everyone, even if they’re already well off.

Politically, you can see the attractiveness of the Republican plan. One of Obamacare’s major failings is that its subsidies phase out too soon. The poor get Medicaid and the near-poor get generally decent subsidies, but the working class gets very little and the middle class is left out entirely. The Republican plan provides bigger subsidies for working and middle-class families, and does it by cutting subsidies for the poor.

In other words, it helps two groups who vote at high rates, and who often vote Republican.1 It hurts a group that doesn’t vote much, and votes Democratic when it does. It’s immoral on almost every level, but it’s political genius. Luckily, thanks to the malignity of the tea party wing of the GOP, which views even this amount of government assistance as unacceptable, it will probably never see the light of day.

1The only downside is the cut in subsidies for older working-class voters, who Republicans very much care about. But I imagine that Paul Ryan can come up with some kind of hack that takes care of that.

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