Washington, DC – Here is a statement from Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, on last night’s budget agreement:
“The American Taxpayer Relief Act includes some significant achievements, including raising tax rates on the very wealthy for the first time in 20 years, extending unemployment benefits for two million people, protecting Medicare physician payments and preserving tax credits for low, moderate and middle-income families.
“But because of right-wing extremists, the deal does not do enough to make the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes to fix our economy. It’s a fiscal patch, not a solution that moves the country forward by protecting our nation’s social insurance programs and investing in job creation.
“Republicans in Congress have at every turn prioritized protecting the rich at the expense of the middle class. Since the deal does not raise nearly enough revenue, we can expect a replay of this fight in the coming weeks and months as Congress debates the sequester and the debt ceiling.
“The fiscal patch creates extraordinary pressure to make cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and Social Security. These protections are vital to the health and economic security of America’s middle class and those working their way into it. Supporters of these programs need to make clear right now that they will not agree to beneficiary cuts in the future.
“This deal was only a first step toward tax fairness. We need comprehensive tax reform that makes the wealthiest Americans and corporations pay their fair share and raises revenue for investments in health care, education and jobs.”
Health Care for America Now, the nation’s leading grassroots health care coalition, led the fight to win health reform. HCAN works to promote the Affordable Care Act, protect Medicare and Medicaid, and keep Congress from being steamrolled by corporate special interests.