While doctors pledge to do no harm, Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) seems to vote with the opposite intention when it comes to health care for his constituents.
Tucked inside the Knight-supported tax bill that recently passed the House of Representatives is the elimination of itemized deductions related to medical expenses.
If Knight’s preferred tax plan is successful, medical care will be even more expensive for some Californians.
“Cutting that deduction would hit people with high medical costs — those with chronic conditions that require medical devices and other expensive equipment — hard,” says Business Insider.
Under current law, individuals and families with extraordinarily high medical expenses can file an itemized deduction for those expenses. But under the bill supported by Knight, this deduction is eliminated, paving the way for higher taxes for some.
The AARP calls this provision a “health tax for taxpayers who get sick or have chronic conditions.”
As previously reported, the tax bill supported by Knight raises taxes specifically on Californians. The elimination of the itemized deduction could hit the elderly and chronically ill on top of measures such as the reduction of the state and local tax deduction.
Knight has a long history of voting against the health care interests of his constituents. In the spring, Knight case one of the critical ‘yes’ votes to decimate Obamacare and implement the bill known as Trumpcare, the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
According to one analysis, if the Trump/Knight bill had become law, more than 46,000 individuals in Knight’s own district would have lost health insurance. The same analysis shows that the average Obamacare enrollee in California would have seen an increase of more than $4,000 by 2026.
At the time of that vote, Knight made the dubious assertion that “nobody anywhere” with pre-existing conditions would lose coverage.
That claim was disputed by the American Medical Association, who said, “Not only would the AHCA eliminate health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, the legislation would, in many cases, eliminate the ban against charging those with underlying medical conditions vastly more for their coverage.”
Politifact went further, labeling claims that AHCA would not eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions as “Mostly False.” Their reasoning was simple: “Insurers would be able to charge people significantly more if they had a pre-existing condition like heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis – possibly requiring people to pay thousands of dollars extra every year to remain insured.”
Knight’s vote on the latest tax proposal is just one in a long series of votes against the health care of his constituents. He seems determined to make health care more expensive for those that can afford it, and ignore those who would no longer be able to afford it.
Combined with the other negative aspects of the tax bill, it is hard to see how Knight voted yes.
The simplest conclusion is that Knight seems more interested in currying favor with Republican party leadership than in protecting the health of his constituents.