Friday, December 16, 2016

There's nobody looking out for Louisiana

Your U.S. Senators, Louisiana.

Stephanie Grace is, quite understandably, wondering what it is they might do for you in the coming Age of Trump.
These are heady days for Republicans who found themselves, against most predictions, in charge of both the administration and Congress — and, since the GOP Senate's gambit to ignore Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, positioned to establish a narrow Supreme Court majority.

Yet to the extent a government dominated by one party still has checks and balances, these and other GOP members are pretty much it. The question here is whether they have any interest in filling that role.

If they're looking out for Louisiana's interests, there are some obvious areas to watch.
Policies that either don't address — or worse, accelerate — sea level rise will have more impact here than almost anywhere else.

The GOP threat to quickly overturn the Affordable Care Act, without having settled on a replacement, would impact more than 350,000 working poor Louisianans who've taken advantage of the law's Medicaid expansion, as well as and financial prospects of the state's public-private hospital partnerships. Also affected would be the many more who get their insurance through the law's exchanges, often with government subsidy, as well as young adults who have been able to get insurance through their parents' plans and anyone who has a pre-existing condition.
Will Republicans do anything to stop the promised, though disastrous for many Louisianans, ACA repeal?  Probably not.  Remember, an Obamacare repeal is first and foremost, a big tax break for the wealthy paid for through the pain and suffering of... well... everybody else. 
As the TPC explains, the multiple moving parts of an Obamacare repeal affect taxpayers in different ways and the variation is wide even within each income group. The ACA tax credits play a major role in determining the losers, but even if they are excluded from consideration, those on the bottom and the middle benefit from the tax cuts far less than those on the top.

For instance, a vast majority (94 percent) of middle-income households (making between $52,000 and $89,000) do see a small tax cut that averages around $110, but three percent of middle-income earners would see a massive tax hike, averaging $6,200, because of the elimination of the tax credits for insurance plans purchased through the individual exchanges.

High-earners see a major cut not just because they don't stand to lose the subsidies. Two of the taxes that would be eliminated with Obamacare's repeal are directed at individuals making $200,00 or more. All in all, those in the top 1 percent see a tax cut of $33,000. Those in the top .1 percent will see a cut of $197,000.
John Kennedy offered a lot of folksy rhetoric about "handouts" and "bailouts" during the campaign. In the phrasing of Kennedy's ads, repealing Obamacare is a bailout AND handout for people "at the top" while "the rest of us get stuck with the bill."  Pretty sure he won't care about that, though. 

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