Another way of saying this is that the Affordable Care Act was one of the single largest downward redistributions of income in American history, made more so when considered in the context of the Obama administration’s increases in taxes on the rich and expansions of tax credits for the poor. This was a point that Jason Furman, Obama’s chief economist, made well in a speech last October.
“In concert with the effects of the ACA coverage provisions, changes in tax policy since 2009 will by 2017 boost incomes for families in the bottom quintile by 18 percent, or $2,200 (the equivalent to about a decade of income gains), and in the second quintile by about 6 percent, or $1,500, relative to what they would have been under the continuation of 2008 policies,” Furman noted. “Under President Obama, the Federal investment in inequality has increased by about 0.8 percent of potential GDP, more than any previous president since the Great Society.”
You don’t have to take Furman’s word for it. A simple glance at the funding mechanisms of the ACA — things like the surtaxes on income above $250,000 — and what it spent money on (namely health insurance for the poor) makes it clear that it takes money from the rich and gives it to the poor, in the form of health insurance.
The American Health Care Act, the Republican health care legislation backed by President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, undoes basically all of those components. And then it goes a step further, by slashing Medicaid to below its pre–Affordable Care Act levels using a per capita cap.
The AHCA would reverse one of the greatest actions against inequality ever taken by the federal government, and then increase inequality yet further. It is an act of class warfare against low-income Americans, waged for the benefit of the handful of rich taxpayers affected by Obamacare’s surtaxes.
You know, for an act of perfidious corporate neoliberalism written by the Heritage Foundation and Newt Gingrich, the Affordable Care Act sure had an awful lot of regulation and downward wealth distribution. Still, I think we can safely conclude that Hillary Clinton was the more dangerous evil.