Top GOP lawmaker questions tax break for wealthy in healthcare plan

Top GOP lawmaker questions tax break for wealthy in healthcare plan

A top GOP lawmaker is pressing leadership to rethink a tax break for high-income earners in the Senate health bill.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong George Conway hits Republicans for not saying Trump's name while criticizing policy Trump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid MORE (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday bashed the bill's repeal of a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for high earners.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing that tax could cost the federal government $172 billion over 10 years.

Meanwhile, under the same bill, low-income people could face plans that cover less with higher deductibles and copays.

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"At the same time the 3.8 percent tax on the wealthy was being done away with. That's not an equilibrium that, to me, is appropriate. That's not a tradeoff that's appropriate. That's not an equation that is appropriate," Corker told reporters Wednesday, following a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatient advocates launch drug pricing ad campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs War of words at the White House MORE (R-Ky.).

Under the draft Senate bill, healthcare subsidies would be tied to the cheapest ObamaCare plans that cover about 58 percent of costs. Under current law, these subsidies are tied to plans that cover about 70 percent of costs.

That means that, under the draft, people using subsidies to get insurance would either have to pay more in premiums to keep the plan they have now or have a higher deductible to keep their premiums in line.

"If you look at the way the draft was created, they took a step backward," Corker said.

"They get less subsidy" and bigger deductibles, according to Corker. 

"That's a situation that has got to be rectified. My sense is there is a way for that to be rectified," Corker said.

"It's something that's important to me that lower-income citizens have the ability to actually purchase plans that give them healthcare or insure them, and I know there are other members that have expressed the same," he added.