Those claiming that the Affordable Care Act is failing don’t typically rely on it for their health insurance and would convince us that the government cannot fund it.

As small-business owners, we’ve purchased our health insurance through the ACA since inception. It’s real insurance, it’s affordable and it’s a huge improvement over our previous options as small-business owners. If the ACA advance premium tax credit subsidies are repealed, the median Maine family can expect to pay about 39.8 percent or more of their income for health insurance premiums (an income-to-expense ratio that’s wildly unfeasible) or join the uninsured.

In 2009, we paid $7,068 per year for “health insurance” with a $35,000 deductible for our family of four. The value of our 2017 midlevel insurance premiums for our family through ACA member Community Health Options is $19,648.40, or $1,637.36 monthly before the monthly ACA tax credits.

To keep health insurance coverage for a family capped at 20 percent (one person should be no more than 9.6 percent of household income), Maine families would need to earn $98,242 annually. However, Maine’s median income was only half that, at $49,331 in 2015. Eliminating the advance premium tax credit is clearly an assault on the well-being of the middle class.

One might ask – how can the nation afford tax subsidies to offset rocketing health insurance costs? Consider this: In 1981, top U.S. individual income earners were taxed at 69.125 percent on income over $215,400, yet in 2015 the top incomes were taxed at 39.6 percent on earnings over $464,850. Since 1987, top tax rates have been at or below 39.6 percent, creating a tax subsidy for the wealthiest Americans of 29.525 percent or more, per top income earner, per year for the past 30 years.

Truly, if we can subsidize “wealth care” for Americans with incomes over $464,850, we can subsidize health care for the rest of us.

Celeste Bard