Q&A: Tax bill impacts ‘Obamacare’ and potentially Medicare

WASHINGTON (AP) — The tax overhaul Republicans are pushing toward final votes in Congress could undermine the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance markets and over time add to the financial squeeze on Medicare.

Lawmakers will meet this week to resolve differences between the House- and Senate-passed bills in hopes of getting a finished product to President Donald Trump’s desk around Christmas. Also in play are the tax deduction for people with high medical expenses, and a tax credit for drug companies that develop treatments for serious diseases affecting relatively few patients.

Q: Trump has said he won’t cut Medicare, and the program doesn’t even seem to be mentioned in the tax bill. Why is AARP saying that health insurance for seniors could be jeopardized?

A: The tax bill would increase federal deficits by about $1 trillion over 10 years, even after stronger economic growth expected from tax cuts. More red ink means higher borrowing costs for the government, and that would reduce options for policymakers when Medicare’s long-postponed financial reckoning comes due.

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