SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

The Republican Tax Plan: Tax Cuts for the Rich, Higher Medical Expenses for Everyone Else

By Ghert Abbott


November 21, 2017
Tuesday PM

Just when we think we’re out, they pull us back in. The Republican Congress is launching yet another assault on the healthcare gains created by the Affordable Care Act, albeit one that is somewhat sneakier and less direct than the last five attempts. Instead of wholesale repeal of the ACA, Congressional Republicans are merely seeking to eliminate the individual mandate while also financially undermining Medicaid/Medicare and removing the medical expenses deduction from the tax code. By these methods Congressional Republicans hope to partly achieve the up till now frustrated goal of ACA repeal: gut healthcare and use the savings to give ever greater tax cuts to the super rich and large corporations.

Here now is a rundown of the three components of the latest Republican healthcare plan:

1. Individual Mandate Elimination. The Senate’s tax bill eliminates the individual mandate. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that eliminating the mandate, the machinery of which helps many people acquire healthcare, will cause 13 million people to lose their coverage and raise health insurance premiums by approximately 10%. This is effectively a hidden tax increase on working and middle class families that will be used to pay for corporate tax cuts.

2. Medicaid and Medicare Cuts. On October 19th the Republican House and Senate passed a budget resolution formally declaring their intent to cut roughly one trillion dollars from Medicaid and nearly half a trillion from Medicare. Republican leaders claim that these programs are financially unsustainable. Of course these claims are utterly absurd, given that the House and Senate are planning to add 1.5 trillion dollars to the Federal deficit in order to finance tax cuts for large corporations and the super-wealthy. But once these tax cuts are in place, the deficit will be massively increased, and this increased deficit will then be used to justify the proposed Medicaid and Medicare cuts.

3. The Medical Expenses Deduction. Under current law, individuals can deduct qualified medical expenses that exceed 10 percent their adjusted gross yearly income. Many Americans use this deduction to help afford vital doctors’ visits, necessary medications, lifesaving surgeries, dental and vision care, addiction treatment, mental health therapy, and long-term medical care for chronically ill, injured or disabled family members. The House tax bill, which the House voted to send to the Senate on November 16, eliminates this deduction, increasing the cost of healthcare in yet another working and middle class tax increase.

I urge every Alaskan who values affordable healthcare and a healthy society to contact Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young and demand they oppose any tax reform bill that contains the above components.

Ghert Abbott
Ketchikan, Alaska

About: Ghert Abbott was born in Ketchikan in 1986. He is a graduate of Ketchikan High School and the University of Alaska Southeast-Ketchikan.

Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received November 19, 2017 - Published November 21, 2017

Related Viewpoint:





Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor


Representations of fact and opinions in letters are solely those of the author.
The opinions of the author do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.

E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

Published letters become the property of SitNews.

SitNews ©2016
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.