Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn reports that, after four election cycles of ducking, dodging and tiptoeing around Obamacare, Democrats this time around have “a unified message blaming Republicans for ‘sabotaging’ the health care law, leading to a cascade of sky-high insurance premiums that will come just before the November midterm elections. They’re rolling out ads featuring people helped by the law. And Tuesday, they’re starting a campaign to amplify each state’s premium increases — and tie those to GOP decisions.” Democrats are also focusing on rising health care costs, projected Obamacare premium spikes and prescription drug prices, looking to hang those increases on the GOP.
An analysis by Bloomberg finds that the roughly 180 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings for the first three months of the year saved almost $13 billion thanks to the corporate tax cut enacted late last year. Those companies’ effective tax rate dropped by more than 6 percentage points on average. About a third of the tax savings went to 44 financial firms.
A West Palm Beach doctor who is friends with Ike Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment and an informal adviser to President Trump on veterans’ issues, has held up “the biggest health information technology project in history — the transformation of the VA’s digital records system,” Politico’s Arthur Allen reports. Dr. Bruce Moskowitz “objected to the $16 billion Department of Veterans Affairs project because he doesn’t like the Cerner Corp. software he uses at two Florida hospitals, according to four former and current senior VA officials. Cerner technology is a cornerstone of the VA project. … Moskowitz’s concerns effectively delayed the agreement for months, the sources said.” Read the full story.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told The Economist that his party’s defense of the massive tax cuts passed last year may be off base: “There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they’re going to take the money they’re saving and reinvest it in American workers,” Rubio said. “In fact they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”
The Tax Policy Center has updated its Marriage Bonus and Penalty Calculator for 2018, including the new GOP-passed tax law. The tool lets users calculate the difference in income taxes a couple would owe if filing as married or separately. “Most couples will pay lower income taxes after they are married than they would as two separate taxpayers (a marriage bonus), but some will pay a marriage penalty," TPC’s Daniel Berger writes. “Typically, couples with similar incomes will be hit with a penalty while those where one spouse earns significantly more than the other will almost always get a bonus for walking down the aisle.”
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will propose increasing the rent obligation for low-income households receiving federal housing subsidies, as well as creating new work requirements for subsidy recipients. Some details via The Washington Post: “Currently, tenants generally pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent or a public housing agency minimum rent not to exceed $50. The administration’s legislative proposal sets the family monthly rent contribution at 35 percent of gross income or 35 percent of their earnings by working 15 hours a week at the federal minimum wage -- or approximately $150 a month, three times higher than the current minimum.” (The Washington Post)