Wyden: Trump tax law benefits insurers, drug cos. by billions

WASHINGTON - Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., released a report Tuesday detailing short and long-term benefits the health care industry is receiving from President Trump’s tax law.

The report, “Trump Tax Law and the Health Care Industry: A $100 Billion Bonanza,” highlights how health insurance, pharmaceutical and other health care corporations will receive $100 billion in tax cuts over the next 10 years, the senator said.

In addition to these cuts, the report notes that the health care industry has announced $28 billion in stock buybacks since Trump signed the Republicans’ tax bill into law. The report also reveals how tens of billions of dollars held offshore by the US health care industry were the subject of a sweetheart tax deal.

“Millions of working Americans lie awake at night wondering how to make ends meet. Do they pay for their electric bill or their child’s prescription? Groceries or a visit to the doctor’s office?” Wyden said.

“This report shows there are no sleepless nights for wealthy shareholders or high fliers in the health care industry. Their windfalls are raining down like manna from heaven. Corporate heads at health insurance and pharmaceutical companies are watching the value of their financial portfolios soar with the increase of stock buybacks. New data shows that those same health industry CEOs are being paid up to nearly 400 times more than their employees. As benefits keep rolling in for the very top, working Americans and the middle class will continue to get left behind.”

A new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule requires companies to identify the compensation of their average worker, compare that with the CEO at their firm and disclose it as a ratio annually. Wyden’s report found that the same health industry CEOs who are spending billions on stock buybacks are also being paid anywhere from 127 to 388 times more than the average employee at their firm.

Republicans repealed a pillar of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to pay for tax cuts for corporations. This choice is expected to leave 13 million more Americans uninsured and raise premiums on millions more.  According to Congress’ official scorekeeper, the second most affordable option available in the health insurance marketplaces will increase by 34 percent.

A copy of Wyden’s report can be found here.

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