By Howard Gleckman
Image courtesy of Tom Williams
You hear it all the time these days: Republicans should just move on to tax reform. It will be so much easier than overhauling the law on healthcare.
No, it won’t. Indeed, if the GOP thinks replacing the Affordable Care Act has been a nightmare, just wait until they try to reform the tax code.
Tax reform, at least the version that raises the same amount of revenue as the current code, will create far more losers than a health bill. It will divide the business lobby, produce a storm of criticism from charities and home builders, and set off a firestorm among political ideologues. It will sow confusion and uncertainty among ordinary taxpayers. And it will split congressional coalitions, not just by party, but by geography.
Think of it this way: Nearly two-thirds of Americans get insurance through their employers, Medicare, or the military, and they would be largely immune from changes to the ACA. By contrast, nearly every American and all businesses could be touched by a major tax bill. Even those who currently pay no federal income tax could be at risk, depending on how reform is structured.