07/17/2017

Why The Cruz Amendment Is Smart Policy

Stephen Moore, CNN

Stephen Moore is an economic adviser to Freedom Works and a CNN economic analyst. He served as a senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign. The views expressed are his own.

(CNN)Republicans are finally getting smart on Obamacare. It took one of the savviest Republican senators -- Ted Cruz of Texas, with an assist from Mike Lee of Utah -- to get the GOP ‎to figure out how to replace Obamacare, reduce premiums, and save money for the government. And all without alienating millions of voters. But he's pulled the Republicans' fannies out of the fire by having flipped a political losing strategy into a big-time winner.

The Cruz amendment -- which has been inserted into the GOP Senate health plan -- is smart,because it doesn't take anything away from anyone. If you want Obamacare -- you can have it. You can have the coverage for the 10 "essential benefits,‎" you can have the subsidies and the exchanges that were supposed to save $2,500 per family. It's still there for you.

The Cruz‎ amendment creates what is called a "Consumer Freedom Option." This essentially allows an "off-ramp" from Obamacare for the tens of millions of Americans who don't want it. The "Consumer Freedom Option" allows insurers who offer Obamacare-compliant plans to offer a range of much less costly plans. In other words, it empowers people and families to pick and choose what they want in their own insurance package. Some families want and can afford blanket coverage that insures them for everything from cancer to contraceptives to drug addiction to dental care to the sniffles. If you want to pay for that coverage, go for it. ‎

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Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).

 

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