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Republicans Cheer Lavish Tax Breaks for the Wealthy as Healthcare for 9 Million Children Hangs in the Balance

December 22, 2017 in Blogs

By Ilana Novick, AlterNet

CHIP is on the chopping block, but the GOP cares more about satisfying its donors.

We’ve been dreaming of this since you and I were drinking out of a keg,” GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan said in March to Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, regarding cutting Medicaid benefits.

After months of attempts to do so by repealing the Affordable Care Act, Ryan got closer than ever to his beer-soaked dreams, as Congress passed a $1.5 trillion tax plan. Ryan, Trump and Mitch McConnell celebrated this Christmas present to the Koch brothers, which in addition to providing generous, permanent tax cuts for corporations cuts the corporate tax rate to 21% (and the individual rate to 37), and strips critical health care protections from the public.

The GOP did this in complete secrecy, finding time to vote multiple times in the middle of the night for Ryan's wealth-transfer fantasies, but failed to determine how to save the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) a bipartisan program that provides health insurance to poor children. Congress let CHIP's funding expire at the end of September, but as Vox reports, “States and the feds have been getting by with some creative budgeting to make sure no kids are kicked off the rolls,” in the hopes Congress might finally come up with a solution before the end of the legislative session.

Joan Alker, the director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families told Vox that “Never before has Congress let CHIP funding lapse for this length of time…Families need the peace of mind as they head into this holiday season that their CHIP coverage will be secure.”

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, that dream seemed dead Wednesday afternoon, per a joint statement from senators Lamar Alexander and Susan Collins:

“[They] have asked Senator McConnell not to offer this week our legislation which independent analysts Avalere and Oliver-Wyman say would reduce premiums by about 20 percent for the 9 million Americans who have no government subsidies to help them buy insurance in the individual …read more


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