ACA lawsuit is a reverse Robin Hood

ACA lawsuit is a reverse Robin Hood

A lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act, brought by 18 attorneys general, including Louisina’s Jeff Landry, would cut taxes for the most well-off, while ending health coverage for millions of Americans, according to a new paper from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. If successful, Texas v. United States would end many of the ACA’s popular provisions, like extending Medicaid to more low-income adults and protecting people with pre-existing conditions, but would give billions of dollars in tax breaks to households earning more than $1 million. The CBPP’s Aviva Aron-Dine, Chye-Ching Huang and Samantha Washington outline who would benefit the most from millions of people losing their health insurance.


  • Households with incomes over $250,000 for couples ($200,000 for singles) would receive tax cuts worth about $45 billion per year. That roughly equals what low- and moderate-income consumers would lose from cuts to federal health coverage programs in 37 states (including the District of Columbia), where 6.2 million people would become uninsured.
  • Most of these tax cuts would go to households with incomes over $1 million, who would receive tax cuts averaging about $46,000 apiece.
  • The 1,400 highest-income taxpayers — the 1 in 100,000 households with annual incomes over $53 million apiece — would receive tax cuts totaling about $3.8 billion. That exceeds the ACA premium tax credits for over 600,000 individual market consumers with moderate incomes in 18 states (including the District of Columbia).
  • Pharmaceutical companies would pay $2.8 billion less in taxes each year, even as seniors would pay billions more for prescription drugs because eliminating the ACA would reopen the “donut hole” gap in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit.


A verdict from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, based in New Orleans, is expected any day. 


Talk is a start, but racial equity requires real action
Last week, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu launched the E Pluribus Unum initiative. This effort aims to “bring people together across the American South around the issues of race, equity, economic opportunity and violence.” While this type of initiative isn’t new, the difference is the specific audience Landrieu is trying to reach – white people. But as The Advocate | Times Picayune’s Will Sutton explains, some people of color in Louisiana are taking a wait-and-see approach:

Mitch Landrieu’s effort may be one of our nation’s most significant moves to improve race relations and racial equality and justice. The efforts include research, narrative change and race-focused leadership development. But Kimbrough, Morial, my dad and other black folks are watching, and waiting. We’re accepting and welcome white folks talking to white folks about making things better. Pardon our skepticism. We wish you success; we just want to see real change.


Corruption in Calcasieu
Criminal defendants in Calcasieu Parish facing mandatory community service have for years been able to buy their way out of that obligation by “donating” money to a nonprofit organization  run by District Attorney John DeRosier. Critics say the money collected would then serve as a type of “slush fund” that served the DA’s political needs. The Washington Post’s Radley Balko has the story.

The final straw for [Jenny] Odom came in October 2015. “I was at my desk and Mr. DeRosier came in an he say, ‘I need $5,000 in cards — in gift cards.’ He wanted them in $1,000 denominations. One of the other secretaries said, ‘Oh okay, I’ll check and see if we have that much.’ But then he repeated it in this tone that was like, ‘I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.’ And then he walked out of the office. When he left, two secretaries were discussing whether they even had that much on hand — and what they should tell him if they didn’t.” The whole scene made her uncomfortable. “If he got the $5,000, there would have been no accounting for any of it.”


A better approach to business tax incentives
Business tax incentives are frequently all cost and no benefit. That’s because at least 75% of the time incentives have no effect on where a business chooses to locate, and only 10-30% of newly created jobs go to state residents who are not already employed. Tim Bartik and John C. Austin of Brookings explain that there is a more effective way to use business incentives: by designing incentives to support the needs of the community, not only the desires of industry.

State residents can benefit from incentives to boost job creation—but not at any cost, or with poorly designed incentives. Effective incentives target economically distressed communities and truly high-multiplier firms. They include customized business services, which can do more per dollar to boost job creation. Lastly, they focus on creating jobs that go to the local unemployed—their largest potential social benefit.


Number of the Day
13 – Percentage of live births in Louisiana that were preterm in 2018. That’s the second-highest rate in the country (behind Mississippi at 14.4%). Louisiana received an “F” in an annual March of Dimes scorecard (Source: The Advocate)