Greg Gianforte Has Eight Million Reasons to Take Away Health Care From Veterans and the Ill

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Given the disastrous impacts for Montana veterans and families with members who suffer from pre-existing conditions, one has to wonder what is motivating Greg Gianforte to be “thankful” that House Republicans have moved to end the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a more expensive bill that will provide healthcare to fewer people.

It turns out that Gianforte has eight million reasons—almost $800, 000 a year in tax cuts for a decade that will result if the Republican repeal and replacement of the ACA becomes law.

A comprehensive study of the GOP House plan shows that the primary function of its passage would be to drastically reduce access to care by slashing tax rates for the wealthiest few Americans. The study, conducted by the Center for American Progress and Tax March, shows that Greg Gianforte will receive an enormous windfall with its passage:

For Greg Gianforte, based on an annualized calculation of wages, capital gains, and dividend income, that means he would receive a $772,981 tax cut every year from the repeal of NIIT and an annual $12,432 cut from HI repeal. Ultimately, Gianforte stands to receive an estimated $785,413 in tax cuts from the AHCA each year.

What has been badly overlooked in the discussion about the repeal of the ACA is that almost all of the tax breaks would accrue to the wealthiest Americans. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities the 400 highest-income people in the United States would receive annual tax cuts of $7 million each. Millionaires like Gianforte will receive 79% of the tax savings.

At what cost? Huge cuts for low-income Montanans and veterans who have served the nation.

Veterans would be especially hard hit. According to McClatchy’s D.C. bureau, 7 million veterans nationwide will lose tax credits for health care, and worse yet, many of them will be placed into high-risk pools because of PTSD:

The health care bill that Republicans in the House of Representatives passed this week could strip 7 million veterans of tax credits and place many of them in high-risk pools by classifying post-traumatic stress disorder as a pre-existing condition.

Poor and disabled vets would face the most harm. The story continues:

Veterans also express dismay that the bill would cut $880 billion from Medicaid, which they argue is used by thousands of veterans. Paralyzed Veterans of America called the bill “particularly devastating to people with disabilities.”

The bill also would eliminate the federal match for the Community First Choice Option under Medicaid, through which “many poor veterans with serious non-service-connected disabilities have been able to move from nursing homes into their communities,” the group wrote in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

The Montana Budget and Policy Center found that, if the Republican bill becomes law, almost 300,000 Montanans will either lose coverage altogether or face increased costs for health care:

  • The new proposal would allow states to eliminate protections for those with pre-existing condition. Insurance companies would now have the power to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions except in states that choose to prohibit it. 426,400 Montanans have pre-existing conditions and risk losing the coverage they desperately need.
  • The new version of the GOP plan would also allow states to waive Essential Health Benefits standards that require plans to cover services such as mental health and substance use treatment.’
  • Before ACA, over 330,000 Montanans – most with employer coverage – faced lifetime limits on health services. The new, worse GOP plan could put in place these same practices, which means even those Montanans who can afford coverage could be one major illness away from bankruptcy.

On top of all of that, 71,000 Montana families will lose the coverage they gained under the hard-fought effort to expand Medicaid and would shift $3 billion dollars of expenses to the state.

It’s little wonder then, that Greg Gianforte, a man who has so much money in his stock portfolio that he purports not to know he’s invested $300,000 in companies linked to Russian oppression and ISIS, a man who has so much money that the tax breaks he would receive under the Republican bill are fifteen times the average Montanan’s income, and a man who doesn’t even believe that the elderly should be allowed to retire with dignity, would be “thankful” for the passage of this bill.

Don’t let Mr. Gianforte fool you. For the sake of his own enrichment, he’s willing to let families lose coverage, workers face bankruptcy, and veterans lose medical care they’ve earned through the ultimate sacrifice.

Let’s all do what we can in the next six days to make sure we can be “thankful” that he won’t run any more races to fatten his coffers and the expense of the people of this state.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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