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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fair Taxation Is a Requirement for Fair Health Care

Ben D'Avanzo

Special Projects Manager

Today, the Senate is expected to vote on a measure that would extend tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 for all except those earning more than $250,000 a year. Next week, it looks like the House of Representatives will vote on a similar tax measure, except that their measure would allow the wealthy to keep their tax breaks. The real difference between the proposals in the two chambers? The House measure would mean the richest 2 percent would get to keep an extra $800 billion in their own pockets over the next decade - revenue the government would lose. The catch? Without those tax dollars, the deficit will continue to grow. That ballooning deficit means Congress will have little choice but to make cuts elsewhere - most likely to Medicaid and Medicare.

As has been widely discussed over the past year, the government must address its long-term deficits or face severe financial problems. To boil it down, Congress has two options: cut spending or raise more revenue. If no new revenue comes in, say from allowing the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, then much of the approximately $3 trillion in deficit reduction is going to come from cuts to some of the most important services we care about - health care for the young, the elderly, and the most vulnerable. The health care safety net will have a particularly big target on its back.

So, over the next week, keep an eye on Congress. If they're stubbornly refusing to raise taxes on those who can afford to pay more, they're throwing health care under the bus.