Capitol Hill still hasn’t come up with a way to keep the government funded through the holidays. Up to now, Congress’s work has been centered on the tax bill, just passed by the House and Senate. So what made it into the final version?
The Houston Chronicle’s Kevin Diaz says, “The big winners in the Lone Star State, like everywhere, are the wealthiest among us who are going to get the biggest tax cuts.” That’s because the savings will be in proportion to how much you pay in.
Who else wins?
“The largest numbers of Texans are going to be people who don’t itemize because you’re going to get a doubling of the standard deduction,” he says. “So if you don’t itemize your taxes, it’s going to go up to $24,000 for couples, $12,000 for singles.”
But the bill also has plenty of Texans losing. Another big change is that more than one million Texans now stand to lose health coverage in 2025.
“That’s because they have done away with the individual mandate to buy insurance,” Diaz says. “That was sort of a cornerstone of Obamacare.”
Still, Diaz says this doesn’t mean that the tax bill is a repeal of Obamacare.
“They’ve only done away with one side of the coin,” he says. “The other side of that Obamacare coin is protections against preexisting conditions. So now you’ve taken away the individual mandate, but you still have this protection for preexisting conditions. That means that premiums are likely going to skyrocket.”
He says premiums are skyrocketing already, but the danger is that they may go even higher now.
“That’s why a lot of these people are going to fall off. They won’t be able to afford it. The conservatives are making the case that ‘Well, these are just people who don’t want to pay, don’t want insurance, and so they’re going to fall off, it’s voluntary,’” Diaz says. “But I don’t think that’s the case across the board.”
Written by Jen Rice.