David Blumenthal on the Tax Bill: Less for U.S. Health Care

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<p>The new Republican tax bill, which will soon reach President Trump’s desk for signing, “will mean less health insurance for individuals; less coverage for elderly and poor Americans; less revenue for doctors, hospitals, and myriad health care businesses; and, quite possibly, a less-healthy, less-productive workforce,” says Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, M.D., in a new editorial for <em>Harvard Business Review.</em></p><p>In addition to the higher insurance premiums expected from the demise of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalties, Blumenthal argues that a ballooning federal deficit will prompt Republican efforts to curtail Medicare and Medicaid spending. This would mean fewer people covered, reduced benefits, and higher cost-sharing for the tens of millions of beneficiaries these programs cover. </p>
<p>“These cutbacks will ricochet through the economy, just like cutbacks in defense or infrastructure spending,” he writes. “From a health care standpoint, the new tax bill is all about <em>de-stimulus</em>.”</p>
<p>Perhaps most damaging, however, will be the effects on population and worker health, Blumenthal says. “The scientific literature demonstrates a strong link between having health insurance and health status. So reducing the numbers of insured Americans — and reducing the generosity of public programs — seems likely to reduce the health of affected Americans.”</p>

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/newsletters/ealerts/2017/dec/new-tax-plan-affect-health-care Read more