Markets, businesses and consumers have gotten their hopes up that the tax cuts President Trump campaigned on would come soon. But concerns are getting louder that the potentially slow process of repealing and replacing Obamacare, Republicans’ first step before addressing tax reform, would delay those tax cuts indefinitely.
Continue Reading Below
In the aftermath of Humana’s (NYSE:HUM) and Aetna’s (AET) decision to end their merger talks, Humana announced plans to pull out of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges entirely by 2018. And Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told The Wall Street Journal that the Affordable Care Act has entered a ‘death spiral.’ Does this ensure that Republicans will address Obamacare first, putting tax reform on the backburner for the moment?
Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge explained that though the Republicans have boxed themselves in, the Humana decision may be the motivation needed to speed up the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare.
“Well, clearly Stuart, the Republicans have boxed themselves in and by setting up this scenario where they had to do Obamacare first, then the tax cut plan. But maybe Humana pulling out of Obamacare is the catalyst that they need to get an Obamacare replacement over the finish line and then they can move on to tax reform,” Hodge told the FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney.
According to Hodge, there is some discussion that the Obamacare repeal and replacement process could be achieved by mid-April.
“Some are talking that they can get something done by Easter, which would I think be a very encouraging move and then they can set the stage for tax reform next.”
When asked if businesses and individuals can act on expectations of a tax cut once the President details a Republican tax reform plan, Hodge reacted, “I’d be very cautious, we have a long way to go until we can, until he signs in the Rose Garden that final tax reform bill.”