One of the major problems with ObamaCare was the forcing of individuals to buy insurance, especially young people, when they felt it was not necessary.
The mandate was the glue that holds the whole scheme together. It was the first time in history that the United States Federal government required its citizens to purchase something.
President Trump has pushed the GOP to use the tax bill and to Repeal the ObamaCare mandate, and it seems that they have listened.
The Senate Finance Committee hopes to move a bill to the full Senate floor this week. The entire chamber should be voting on it after Thanksgiving. The House plans to vote on its own version of the bill this week.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the GOP tax bill will include the repeal of the ObamaCare mandate.
While including ObamaCare in the tax bill could make it harder for Republicans to support it, many believe they can make it work.
Conservatives led by GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) pushed hard to include the provision, which would eliminate the federal penalty on people who do not buy health insurance. President Trump has also pushed for the provision to be part of the tax bill.
McConnell told reporters that adding the individual mandate repeal will make it easier to muster 50 votes to pass the bill.
“We’re optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful and that’s obviously the view of the Senate Finance Committee Republicans as well,” McConnell said.
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the Senate’s No. 3 Republican, told reporters there has been a whip count and he is confident Republicans can pass a tax bill that includes a measure to repeal the mandate.
Thune said a compromise bill negotiated by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), aimed at stabilizing ObamaCare markets, would be brought up separately. That bill funds key payments to insurers for two years in exchange for more flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted the move, saying in a statement, “Republicans just can’t help themselves. They’re so determined to provide tax giveaways to the rich that they’re willing to raise premiums on millions of middle-class Americans and kick 13 million people off their health care.”
Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee had met Monday night to discuss the repeal issue, Republican aides said. The full Senate GOP caucus discussed the idea at its lunch meeting on Tuesday.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said the bulk of the GOP’s policy luncheon Tuesday was focused on repealing the individual mandate through tax reform. He said the decision wasn’t unanimous, but that no one threatened to vote against tax reform if it were included.
“Long story short, no one needs to be talking about the individual mandate at this point,” he said.
Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the committee, warned that repealing the individual mandate “will cause millions to lose their healthcare and millions more to pay higher premiums.”
Wyden said none of the amendments filed in advance of the markup addressed the individual mandate or health care. He asked that lawmakers have until 5 p.m. on Wednesday to submit additional amendments to address other health issues.
Thune also said the Alexander-Murray bill would be brought up separately, while the bill’s GOP sponsor, Alexander, said that his legislation to temporarily stabilize the ObamaCare insurance marketplace “seems to be an indispensable companion to repeal of the individual mandate.”
Experts have predicted repealing the mandate would undermine the stability of ObamaCare. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said 13 million people would lose health insurance. Alexander added that experts have called the penalty too low to make much of a difference, and the CBO recently revised its estimates of the mandate repeal.
“So I don’t think we know [the impact], but I think it would be a very bad idea to repeal the individual mandate and not pass Alexander-Murray,” Alexander said.
“Getting rid of Obamacare’s tax on people who choose not to buy a plan or can’t afford the premiums is the right thing to do. It’s also another step toward our promise to improve our health care system. I will continue working with my Finance Committee colleagues to make our tax cut bill even better for working families.”
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