Dr. David Blumenthal: Republican tax bill is bad for healthcare, economy

The repeal of the individual insurance mandate included in the Republican tax bill will lead to less insurance coverage for Americans, less revenue for providers and a less productive workforce, writes David Blumenthal, MD, in an op-ed for the Harvard Business Review.

Dr. Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, argues the loss of coverage will not only stem from Americans who elect to leave the markets because of the mandate's repeal but also from rising premiums that will price out millions of people. The increased deficit brought on by the tax bill will also encourage legislators to look for spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget, including Medicare and Medicaid, according to Dr. Blumenthal.

The repercussions of the bill's healthcare provisions will have an impact that reaches far beyond the healthcare industry, Dr. Blumenthal adds.

"Fewer insured Americans and less-adequate public programs will mean fewer doctor visits, hospital stays, and drugs and devices sold. These cutbacks will ricochet through the economy, just like cutbacks in defense or infrastructure spending," Dr. Blumenthal writes. "Healthcare companies will employ fewer workers, who will buy fewer cars, homes, refrigerators and vacations. Many will also lose health insurance. From a healthcare standpoint, the new tax bill is all about de-stimulus."

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