Tag Archives: Obamacare

Three Tough Questions for (Possible) President Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, formally announced his presidential candidacy Monday, giving a laundry list of conservative positions on everything from gay marriage to abolition of the Internal Revenue Service. Although Cruz may have hit all the popular talking points of the campaign trail, President Ted Cruz would need to be ready to answer detailed questions about the consequences of his policies. Here are a few examples:

Tax Simplicity

In his announcement, Cruz said, “Instead of a tax code that crushes innovation, that imposes burdens on families struggling to make ends met, imagine a simple flat tax that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a postcard.”

Question for Cruz: Are you prepared to eliminate popular tax credits in exchange for a simpler tax code?

Simplifying the tax code is a popular talking point, but when actually applied it means taking away popular tax credits and deductions, such as the charitable deduction, the mortgage interest deduction, and the child tax credit. According to the Treasury Department, $1.1 trillion in tax breaks are claimed by individuals, $212 billion of which is a tax break for employer-provided health insurance. Cruz might want to cut tax rates by an equal amount to create revenue-neutral reform, but the change wouldn’t affect everyone equally if the tax code suddenly stopped conferring special favor upon certain popular activities.

A dramatic simplification of the tax code might very well be worth it, but President Ted Cruz would have to admit it would require eliminating popular tax breaks, and make the case to taxpayers that the trade-offs are worth it.

Education

“Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core, imagine repealing every word of Common Core. Imagine embracing school choice as the civil rights issue of the next generation that every single child, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of wealth or ZIP Code, every child in America has the right to a quality education. And that’s true from all of the above, whether it is public schools, or charter schools, or private schools, or Christian schools, or parochial schools, or home schools, every child.”

Question: How big should the federal role in education be? Should the federal government require all states to repeal Common Core standards? Should the federal government run its own school choice programs?

Read the rest at the Washington Examiner…

How to Handle Victory in King v. Burwell

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a legal challenge to the provision of President Obama’s national healthcare law that subsidizes insurance premiums for those enrolled in federal health exchanges.

The justices considered whether the IRS acted outside its authority when it permitted subsidies to healthcare.gov enrollees in the 37 states that did not establish their own insurance exchanges.

The plaintiffs had a strong case, as the letter of the law states that subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State.” The IRS defined a state exchange as a “State Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary Exchange, and Federally-facilitated Exchange,” taking the pressure off states to establish their own exchanges. The subsidies were designed to encourage the creation of state exchanges.

What should be done if the IRS’s actions are found to be illegal? One interesting post-Kingproposal comes from Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner and Economics21 Director Diana Furchtgott-Roth.

A Supreme Court ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would force Congress and President Obama to the negotiating table. Besides passing legislation that allows already-promised subsides to remain, this could be used as an opportunity to return flexibility and state control to health insurance markets.

As Turner and Furchtgott-Roth explain, “the 37 states without exchanges could receive a new, capped allotment from the federal government that we call Health Checks. States could use the allocation to provide immediate premium assistance to people affected by the court decision, and similar checks could be extended to others who would need insurance afterward.”

Read the rest at the Washington Examiner…