Senate Considers Ending Obamacare Mandate in Revised Tax Plan
Republican senators are mulling whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate when their tax proposal is revised later on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON — As they revise their tax plan, Senate Republicans are considering heeding President Trump’s wishes and including the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most people have health insurance or pay a penalty.
The repeal of the so-called individual mandate could be included in a revised version of the Senate’s proposal that is slated for release later Tuesday, according to a Republican Senate aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
No final decision has been made, the aide said.
Repealing the mandate could help Republicans with the difficult math problem they face in refining their tax plan. In order to be protected from a Democratic filibuster, the tax bill can add no more than $1.5 trillion to federal budget deficits over a decade, and it cannot add to the deficit after a decade.
Eliminating the mandate would free up more than $300 billion over a decade that could go toward tax cuts, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Because getting rid of the mandate would lead to a decline in the number of people with health coverage, the government would spend less money on subsidized health plans.
In a Twitter post on Monday, Mr. Trump urged lawmakers to end the individual mandate.
Several conservative senators have also called for its repeal as part of the tax overhaul, including Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, and Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky.
Mr. Paul said on Tuesday that he would seek to amend the Senate plan to repeal the mandate and “provide bigger tax cuts for middle-income taxpayers.”
“The mandate repeal is a promise we all made, and we should keep,” Mr. Paul said.