U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, became outraged today in a finance committee hearing about a Republican tax plan. She argued with Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, about whether Medicaid cuts are in the bill.
The Senate version of the legislation includes repealing the Obamacare individual mandate that many Republicans say will save more than $300 billion to give lawmakers more budget options.
“So, in order to save these poor people $43 billion, you’re cutting $364 billion from the same people,” said McCaskill.
“Senator, if you would just yield for a second, there are no cuts to Medicaid in this bill,” said Hatch.
“I beg your pardon. This is the CBO score, Mr. Chairman. I’m reading right off of the CBO score – $179 billion in reduced Medicaid subsidies,” said McCaskill.
“Well, there are no cuts,” said Hatch.
“I beg your pardon,” said McCaskill. “That’s where the money is coming from. Where do you think the $300 billion is coming from? Is there a fairy that’s dropping in on the Senate?”
“What,” asked Hatch.
McCaskill’s voice intensified even more.
“The money that you are spending is coming out of Medicaid and subsidies to people who make less than $50,000,” said McCaskill.
McCaskill is among many Democrats who call the legislation a scam that helps the wealthy and hurts the middle class and poor.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says repealing the mandate would cause an estimated 13 million people to lose their insurance over the next ten years and insurance premiums would increase by 10% every year after the repeal.
The Senate bill would also guarantee permanent tax cuts for corporations but only temporarily lower tax bills for individuals and small businesses. Those benefits would expire at the end of 2025. Additionally, it would expand access to deductions for “pass-through” businesses and double the child tax credit to $2,000.
The House began debating its tax bill on Wednesday, with a full vote expected on Thursday.
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote on the measure by the end of the week.