The good should never be the evil of the perfect. The Paul Ryan health-care bill is a very good first step. Massive repeal of Obamacare tax hikes will be great for the economy. Getting rid of the Affordable Care Act mandates will be great for health care. Private-sector competition and choice are always better than government-run anything. The GOP has to practice bipartisanship within itself.
All this health-care reform stuff makes my head spin. And that’s why I’m putting all my conclusions at the top of this piece.
I think the House and Senate GOP can make the Ryan blueprint even better. And I’m hopeful that the congressional leadership, along with the Trump administration, will do just that.
But let’s just review a couple key points about the Ryan bill — or the American Health Care Act (AHCA). (There’s no way to go through this whole deal.)
First, there’s no point in obsessing over the CBO numbers. Their Obamacare enrollment predictions were so off the mark that there’s no reason to believe their estimates for the AHCA will be any better. And we have so little experience, so little data, and such massive reform, I don’t think anybody could accurately model it. In this case, policies, not forecasts, are the key. Americans are a lot smarter than the professors think.
But one thing that really astonishes me is that both the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) continue to stick to static estimates on tax changes. To wit: The biggest tax-hike repeal in the AHCA is the net investment income tax, which is primarily the capital-gains tax. CBO and JCT score it as a $158 billion loss over ten years. Yet history nearly always teaches us that when the cap-gains tax rate is cut, there’s more investment, more risk-taking, more new business start-ups, and more economic…