The Tax Bill’s Impact On Health Policy: A Trigger For Medicare Cuts? Impact On Insurance Markets?
News outlets examine how some aspects of the House and Senate GOP tax plans currently winding their ways through Congress could impact the Medicare program. In addition, the Senate measure's provision to repeal the individual mandate is raising concern among some insurance commissioners. However, the stock market sees benefits for the health sector.
The New York Times:
The Tax Bill’s Automatic Spending Cuts
If Congress passes its tax bill and then takes no other action, the funding for dozens of federal spending programs could be cut — in many cases to nothing — beginning next year. The cuts would be automatic, the consequence of a 2010 law that Congress passed to keep itself from increasing the deficit too much. The biggest program affected would be Medicare, the health insurance program for older people and the disabled. But the law allows Medicare to take only a relatively small cut: 4 percent. (Sanger-Katz, 11/29)
Insurance Officials Worry Mandate Repeal Will Damage Markets
Many state insurance officials, even some in red states, are warning that repealing ObamaCare's individual mandate in the GOP tax-reform bill would cause damage to their markets. Insurance commissioners warn that premiums would rise, insurers could drop out of the market and more people would go without coverage if the mandate is repealed, as Senate Republicans are poised to do as part of their tax bill this week. (Sullivan, 11/30)
U.S. Healthcare Shares Climb As Investors See Upside From Republican Tax Bill
Shares of U.S. healthcare companies mostly climbed on Wednesday, as investors saw some potential upside for the stocks from a Republican-led bill to cut taxes. ... “We see tax reform as providing a durable benefit to healthcare services companies,” Bernstein analysts wrote in a research note. “Healthcare services companies generally pay the full 35 percent corporate tax, as domestic companies with limited adjustments.” (Valetkevitch, 11/29)
The orphan drug tax credit also remains in play —
How The Orphan Drug Tax Credit May Change. What You Need To Know
As congressional Republicans race toward a vote on their tax code overhaul, a key tax credit for biotech and pharmaceutical companies — the so-called orphan drug tax credit — is on the line. The House passed a tax reform package earlier this month that would entirely repeal the credit, which is aimed at incentivizing research into treatments for especially rare diseases. The Senate version, up for a vote this week, lessens the amount companies can claim under the credit but keeps the idea in place. If it clears the Senate, the two chambers would have to reconcile their different versions before it could head to President Trump’s desk. (Mershon, 11/29)