The GOP, the ACA, and the Deficit

Today, January 8, the House voted on and passed H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act of 2015.  The final tally of the vote was 252 ayes (12 of whom were Democrats), 172 noes (not a single Republican), and 5 not voting.  Following the vote, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) tweeted that the bill passed with his support.  Since I hadn’t heard about the bill, I did a little digging, and this is what I found.

First, the summary given by Congress.gov states that “This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to change the definition of ‘full-time employee’ for purposes of the employer mandate to provide minimum essential health care coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service a week to an employee who is employed on average at least 40 hours of service a week.”

Second, the Congressional Budget Office came up with a cost estimate.  The two findings that stood out to me were the following:
1. The legislation would “Increase the number of uninsured—by less than 500,000 people.”
2. “Enacting H.R. 30 would increase budget deficits by $18.1 billion over the 2015-2020 period and by $53.2 billion over the 2015-2025 period.”

While I am concerned that the number of people without insurance would increase (in fact I believe that we should adopt a health insurance system similar to those in Europe), I was also intrigued that the GOP would support legislation that would increase the deficit.  The GOP!  The party that proposes deficit reduction plans and the party that wrote about President Obama’s deficit “problem” at the end of his first term.  Given their past, and ongoing, concern about the deficit, how is it that almost every single member of the GOP voted for H.R. 30?  Simple, it does not really matter to them; instead, they would rather dismantle the ACA and see more people go without health insurance.

Thanks for reading.

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