And the GOP's best alternative shows that simplicity is a virtue.12:18 PM, May 29, 2015 • By BRIAN BLAKE
In their review of House Budget Committee chairman Tom Price’s newly released Obamacare alternative, Bloomberg’s editors strain to make a virtue out of Obamacare’s maddening complexity. Whereas no one knows until tax time the following year what, if anything, they will be getting in subsidies under Obamacare, Price’s alternative offers tax credits in three simple amounts. It also lets Americans quickly see what they will be getting immediately, and does not compel them to buy health insurance against their will. Bloomberg’s editors object to such refreshing simplicity, writing, “The reason Obamacare subsidies are complicated is so people can get affordable coverage, whatever their age, at the lowest government cost. Because premiums vary enormously — by age, type of coverage and geography — that necessarily entails something more complex and flexible than three numbers set by Congress.”
These “three numbers” refer to the value of Price’s non-income-tested, refundable tax credits for those who purchase health insurance on the private market. Those aged 18 to 34 years old would receive a tax credit worth $1,200; those 35 to 49 years old would receive $2,100; and those 50 to 64 would receive $3,000. Parents, meanwhile, would get a $900 tax credit for each child.These tax credits would bring more equality to the tax code without upsetting the health care of the 169 million Americans who receive employer-based coverage.
Here’s a specific example of how Price’s plan would work: A 34-year-old single woman making $50,000 a year is paying a 25% marginal tax rate (assuming she does not itemize). With an employer-provided health-care plan valued at $5,000, she therefore gets an income-tax break of $1250. Under Obamacare, if she buys a $5,000 plan on the private market, she gets nothing—no tax break and no subsidy since she is too young and too wealthy under Obamacare’s byzantine formula. But under the Price proposal, she would receive a $1200 tax cut in the form of a tax credit to buy the insurance of her choice, bringing her into near-tax-parity with a similar person getting employer-based coverage.
Contrary to Bloomberg’s argument, the Price bill’s simplicity is not a flaw; it’s a feature. To illustrate how well Obamacare’s maddening complexity works, let us take the case of a couple, each partner aged 52 years old, living in Milwaukee and making $62,900 a year. Under Obamacare, this couple receives $6,200 a year in subsidies that go directly to their health insurer to help pay for their coverage. It is money they never actually see, but whether they know it or not, they could be on the hook for it. Because Obamacare’s formula has income cliffs built in that create huge disincentives to work, this couple will lose all of their $6,200 in Obamacare subsidies if their income increases $100 to $63,000 a year. Think of the predicament facing that couple when they realize they need to stop working in the final weeks of December to make sure they do not have to pay the government back $6,200 come tax time. And if they don’t realize it (as Bloomberg admits was the case for two thirds of Americans receiving subsidies last year, citing an H&R Block report) they will have even more complicated decisions to make on April 15th as they try to figure out how to pay back the $6,200 they just learned that they owe Uncle Sam, courtesy of Obamacare.
Under the simplicity of the Price legislation, which already has 67 House cosponsors, the same couple would receive $6,000 in tax credits without the year-end fear of stepping out of their government-created income box. Unlike under Obamacare, they could use their $6,000 tax credit on health coverage tailored to their specific health needs, rather than having to buy Obamacare’s mandated coverage of items irrelevant to these 52-year-olds’ lives, like pediatric dental care and prenatal care. Obamacare’s approach to health care is akin to this childless couple going into a car dealership and being told they have to buy a fully loaded luxury SUV with preinstalled car seats and Frozen playing on a loop on the backseat entertainment system. Price’s approach would let them pick the car they really want. And if they bought insurance for less than $6,000, they could put their savings in a health savings account, which they could not do under Obamacare.
10:05 PM, May 13, 2015 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Assuming a Republican wins the presidency in 2016, his top domestic priority will be—and should be—to repeal and replace Obamacare.
12:01 PM, Feb 2, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The White House has submitted its latest budget proposal to Congress, and the Republican chairs of the budget committees in both the Senate and the House are criticizing the plan for increasing spending and raising taxes. In a joint statement House budget chair Tom Price of Georgia and Senate budget chair Mike Enzi of Wyoming blasted President Obama's proposal:
1:20 PM, Jul 9, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The House of Representatives will take up a bill that would stop the Department of the Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Services, from implementing and enforcing the provisions of Obamacare. The bill, authored by Georgia Republican Tom Price and co-sponsored by 114 other House members, is just two pages long and claims its purpose is to "prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010."
1:54 PM, May 10, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Tom Price, a Republican congressman from Georgia, will not run for the U.S. Senate next year. Price told the Marietta Daily Journal that his "assessment at this point is the House is the battleground for politics in this country right now" and he will seek sixth term for his metro Atlanta House seat.
4:05 PM, Mar 30, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Congressman Tom Price, a Republican, has said he will not announce a decision about running next year for the Senate in Georgia until May, but a pair of fundraising emails obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD indicate the GOP congressman may be leaning toward getting in the race. Here's an excerpt from Price's first email to donors, sent Thursday:
The first quarter FEC reporting deadline is fast approaching on March 31st! We are off to a strong start with fundraising this year, and we are extremely close to reaching our first quarter goal.
1:08 PM, Mar 21, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican Karen Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state, gubernatorial candidate, and vice president for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, is moving closer to running for the Senate next year to succeed Republican Saxby Chambliss. Georgia political blog Peach Pundit reports:
Previewing the coming GOP primary fight to succeed Saxby Chambliss.6:00 AM, Feb 18, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
“I have some discomfort with all Republican primaries because they’re all family squabbles,” said Tom Price, the 58-year-old Republican House member from north of Atlanta. “My brother and I used to fight almost daily,” Price, the middle child among five brothers and sisters, said. “My mom’s only prayer was, ‘Don’t hurt each other.’”
10:28 AM, Jan 25, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Two-term Republican senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia will reportedly retire at the end of 2014. Jim Galloway at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the details:
"You can't get a yes or no."3:59 PM, Dec 4, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
House Republican Tom Price of Georgia refused to say whether he would challenge Senator Saxby Chambliss in the 2014 GOP primary. In a Tuesday afternoon appearance on CNN, Price was asked by host Brooke Baldwin if he would "mount a primary challenge" against Chambliss. He at first dodged the question.
"What we're trying to do right now is to solve the remarkable challenges that we have. Any discussion about 2014 is extremely premature," Price said.
12:21 PM, Nov 30, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Georgia-based blogger and radio host Erick Erickson will not be running for the U.S. Senate, Erickson writes at RedState.com:
In politics, self-awareness matters. It does. When I was a political consultant, I told my clients my first two rules. The first was to know when you were in the minority, even when you thought you were right. The second was to know yourself as others see you.
10:31 AM, Nov 28, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger, radio talk show host, and CNN contributor, may be considering a run for Senate in Georgia. On his radio show Tuesday, Erickson stated there are "a lot of people pledging a lot of money" for a primary challenge against incumbent Republican senator Saxby Chambliss.
9:20 AM, Nov 21, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Saxby Chambliss, the two-term senior senator from Georgia, could face a Republican primary challenge in 2014.
4:28 PM, Nov 14, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Washington Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers was elected by the House Republican conference as its chair for the upcoming Congress, reports Jill Jackson of CBS News. McMorris Rodgers, who defeated Georgia congressman Tom Price for the position, will rank fourth in the House leadership. Price had significant support from House conservatives like Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Jeb Hensarling of Texas, but McMorris Rodgers was understood to be the favorite of most of the Republican leadership team.
But Cathy McMorris Rodgers may have him beat.11:54 AM, Nov 13, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
When it comes to finding a leadership role in the next Congress, Tom Price is running out of options. Price, a stalwart conservative House member from Georgia, is the outgoing Republican Policy Committee chairman, which ranked him fifth in the GOP House leadership.