Sep 14, 2017

ACA taxes may be on the table for tax reform

Officials have discussed repealing health care taxes. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Top Trump administration officials are privately exploring whether to use the tax reform bill to repeal certain health care taxes, which Republicans had also tried to eliminate as part of their failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Three sources with knowledge of the discussions told Axios that this conversation came up at a tax-reform meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last Thursday.

That meeting included Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, as well as discussion of repealing:

  • The ACA's tax on medical devices
  • Its tax on health insurance plans
  • The individual mandate, which is administered as a tax penalty

These are exploratory discussions, not final ones. But all of these taxes have been on Republicans' chopping block for a long time, and sources said they're serious options, though they've not been socialized on Capitol Hill. Nor has the administration tested whether it's politically possible to attach elements of the health care fight to tax reform.

Quick take: Repealing the individual mandate would be a non-starter for literally all Senate Democrats and a hard sell for some Republicans, as it could cause insurance premiums to spike and ACA markets to destabilize. Repealing the medical-device tax, on the other hand, has garnered bipartisan support in the past and wouldn't have any broader effects on the health care system.

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Trump indulges Wall Street with Milken pardon

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Donald Trump loves Wall Street shenanigans. Companies owned by him have declared bankruptcy six different times, and he was once sued alongside Mike Milken for participating in a scheme to artificially inflate junk-bond prices.

Driving the news: Trump pardoned Milken this week, with an official statement positively gushing over Milken's role in developing the wilder side of fixed-income capital markets.

Situational awareness

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in prison
  2. Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout
  3. Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in $13 billion deal
  4. Coronavirus slams companies' 2020 sales projections
  5. Black activist group gives its first presidential endorsement to Elizabeth Warren

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,100 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 114 new deaths since Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health