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The top 2% of US 21-year-olds will benefit bigly from Trumpcare

Reuters/Lucas Jackson
Repeal, replace, rejoice.
By Christopher Groskopf, Heather Timmons
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

There’s one group that clearly comes out way ahead under the Donald Trump-backed health-care overhaul that could leave 24 million people without coverage—young millennials earning much more than the national average.

The Congressional Budget Office, which issued the estimate on how many in the US would stand to lose insurance, also broke down the effects of House speaker Paul Ryan’s proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) by picking illustrative ages and incomes  (pdf, pg. 34). Older, poorer Americans will see the largest jumps in absolute cost of coverage by far, and younger ones will save money.

And young Americans earning $68,200 will see the greatest percentage drop in costs, while premiums could rise nearly 760% for poor people age 64. That’s because the bill eliminates the expansion of Medicaid, puts a cap on state’s per capita Medicaid spending, and gives tax credits based on age and not income, something the US’s powerful retired persons lobby quickly dubbed an “age tax.”

The proposal “is a redistribution away from older, lower-income people to younger, higher-income people,” said Josh Bivens, research director for the Economic Policy Institute, a bi-partisan Washington, DC think tank that focuses on low- and middle-income workers.

The average wage for 20-24 year olds in the US was $27,456 in the last quarter of 2016 (pdf, pg. 7), so the young beneficiaries picked out by the CBO report would be in the top 2% of their peer group. Given the US’s richest millennials live in a suburb of Washington, DC, followed by San Francisco and other West Coast tech hubs, the big winners in America’s health-care battle may be young lobbyists and Silicon Valley employees.

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