While Congressional Republicans have only embarrassed themselves in attempting to repeal and replace ObamaCare, there’s one last trick up President Donald Trump’s sleeve that could destroy Obama’s signature healthcare law.Like any other bill, ObamaCare needs funding, and the Trump administration’s commitment to tax reform offers an opportunity to gut ObamaCare, forcing it out of existence.
The Daily Caller reports:
Trump’s administration is toying with the idea of using tax reform as a tool to gut crucial features of Obamacare, a move that would appeal to Trump’s base but could leave the health insurance marketplace in shambles.
Members of the administration, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, met Sept. 7 in the Roosevelt Room at The White House to discuss their plans for tax reform, Axios reports. The meeting led to a discussion of repealing Obamacare’s medical device tax, the tax on health insurance plans and the individual mandate.
Republicans tried for the first seven months of Trump’s first year in office to repeal and replace Obamacare, which stalled in the Senate in late July. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put forth three versions of Obamacare reform, and each fell short of the 50 vote threshold needed under reconciliation rules in a procedural vote.
What is interesting about the Roosevelt Room discussion is that Republicans, in their various attempts to repeal Obamacare, included those measures. For example, the last repeal bill McConnell tried to push through the Senate, known as the “Skinny Repeal,” did away with the individual mandate and delayed the medical device tax till Dec. 31, 2020.
The government’s takeover of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, after bailing them out during the financial crisis, has also provided a major source of funding for ObamaCare. Initially, the two organizations agreed to pay the Treasury a dividend each year equivalent to 10 percent of the bailout funds they took.
Since the two giants recovered faster than expected and became profitable, the Obama administration saw better returns in seizing the profits of Fannie and Freddie instead. Since 2012, every quarter, the two giants have been sending 100 percent of their profits to the Treasury, rewarding taxpayers handsomely.
Despite the fact that taxpayers bailed out Fannie and Freddie to the tune of $187.5 billion, we’ve been paid back $270.9 billion — or $83.4 billion in excess of that figure.
It would be great news if it weren’t for two inconvenient truths: first, that since Fannie and Freddie aren’t allowed to build any capital reserves, any future losses will be the taxpayers’ responsibility; and second, the seizure of Fannie and Freddie’s profits has primarily been used to fund ObamaCare (a fact confirmed by current Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin).
The two government-sponsored enterprises are set to send their next quarterly profits check by September 30th, but due to the risk they pose to taxpayers, even Senate Democrats are calling for a suspension of the so-called “net-worth sweep” (which is a nice way to phrase “theft”) because of the future risk it poses to taxpayers. Five Senate Democrats penned a letter yesterday urging for the NWS to be suspended.Meanwhile, the House’s proposed budget for 2018 calls for re-privatizing the two entities.
Could this loss of revenue finally be ObamaCare’s downfall? Given the incompetence of Congressional Republicans in granting a straight repeal, it might be the best option we’ve got.[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. He is a co-author of the new book A Paradoxical Alliance: Islam and the Left, and can be found on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]