More polit­cal pun­ish­ment

The Maui News - - TODAY’S PEOPLE -

Well, as we wrote just last Sun­day, the Repub­li­can plans for tax re­form ap­pear to be thinly dis­guised at­tempts to pun­ish states that lean to­ward the Demo­cratic Party.

The House ver­sion of GOP tax re­form elim­i­nates de­duc­tions for state and lo­cal taxes and caps the home mort­gage in­ter­est de­duc­tion at $500,000 — ab­so­lute killer changes for places like Hawaii, New York, Con­necti­cut, Cal­i­for­nia and Mas­sachusetts that have both state in­come taxes and high hous­ing costs.

Then on Tues­day, Se­nate lead­ers an­nounced they will in­clude elim­i­nat­ing the in­di­vid­ual man­date in the Af­ford­able Care Act in their ver­sion of tax re­form. What this has to do with tax re­form is un­clear — but it is an­other kick at un­der­min­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture health care act.

Mind you, Tues­day’s an­nounce­ment comes as a bi­par­ti­san ef­fort led by Sens. La­mar Alexan­der and Patty Mur­ray ap­peared to be mak­ing head­way to­ward a com­pro­mise to fix our health care sys­tem.

The GOP seems com­mit­ted to killing the Af­ford­able Care Act, and elim­i­nat­ing the man­date is a great way of desta­bi­liz­ing in­di­vid­ual mar­kets across the coun­try. By al­low­ing young, healthy in­di­vid­u­als to opt out of hav­ing health in­surance, the GOP will tilt the cov­ered pool to sicker in­di­vid­u­als who need more ser­vices. And the pre­mi­ums will soar for the folks who have to buy those poli­cies.

Oh, and the non­par­ti­san Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice says elim­i­nat­ing the in­di­vid­ual man­date would re­sult in 13 mil­lion more Amer­i­cans with­out health in­surance. When they need ser­vices, doc­tors and hospi­tals are go­ing to be eat­ing the cost of that health care.

Per­haps adding the elim­i­na­tion of the man­date will fin­ish off the “tax re­form” ef­forts. Maybe it will drive enough mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans to op­pose th­ese toxic plans.

This ham-handed ef­fort to pun­ish Democrats has ap­par­ently killed the bi­par­ti­san ef­forts of Alexan­der and Mur­ray. That is more than a shame — it should be crim­i­nal.

Edi­to­ri­als re­flect the opinion of the pub­lisher.

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