Conservatives have been clamoring to use the tax plan to nix ACA’s individual mandate after Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The Hill reports Republicans have a narrow path to get their tax plan through the Senate. With a 52-seat majority they can only afford to lose two GOP senators and still let Vice President Pence break a tie, assuming every Democrat and independent votes “no.”
And including an individual mandate repeal could draw opposition from moderate senators. The Hill quotes Sen. David Perdue (R-GA)
I can’t speak for the House, but in the Senate, we’re considering that. I think they’re whipping it today actually, and there’s a chance that might get in there.
House Republicans on Wednesday evening were actively considering a last-minute addition to their tax bill that would repeal the individual mandate to carry health insurance, according to three sources familiar with the discussion.
Republican leadership has come under heavy pressure from conservatives to include the provision, either as part of an amendment to the tax plan during debate in the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday or through a procedural move if the bill advances to consideration on the floor next week, according to a report by CNBC
The Congressional Budget Office has released an updated estimate of the effects of repealing the individual mandate in 2019.
- Federal budget deficits would be reduced by about $338 billion between 2018 and 2027.
- The number of people with health insurance would decrease by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027.
- Nongroup insurance markets would continue to be stable in almost all areas of the country throughout the coming decade.
- Average premiums in the nongroup market would increase by about 10 percent in most years of the decade (with no changes in the ages of people purchasing insurance accounted for) relative to CBO’s baseline projections.
Those effects would occur mainly because healthier people would be less likely to obtain insurance and, especially in the nongroup market, the resulting increases in premiums would cause more people to not purchase insurance. Read the estimate from the CBO
The Washington Post reports White House officials have prepared an executive order that would weaken the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that taxpayers demonstrate proof of insurance, suggesting they will issue it if congressional Republicans cannot achieve the same goal through the tax reform process
The draft order would broaden the “hardship exemption” that the Obama administration established for those who face extraordinary circumstances, according to people familiar with the matter. These people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the order has not been issued yet, and they cautioned that the White House is continuing to press congressional leaders to change the requirement through legislation.
The Treasury Department, which enforces the mandate, has traditionally granted this exemption in cases such as the death of a family member, bankruptcy, a natural disaster, or when a taxpayer cannot afford to pay his or her utilities.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who is seen as a key swing vote on taxes, warned Friday against including a repeal of the individual mandate in a sweeping reform bill. The Washington Post quotes from her statement:
While I support replacing the individual mandate with an auto enrollment system that allows for a consumer to opt out, it would make it more difficult to pass a tax relief bill if it is combined with a repeal of the individual mandate.
Read the view from Reuters