The Republican tax reform bill being proposed by the GOP will call for a repeal of the individual mandate of Obamacare that requires most Americans to have health insurance or receive penalties, said GOP leaders on Tuesday. This means that, once again this year, Republicans will work to remove this one key feature of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
To date, previous efforts by Republicans to repeal Obamacare have failed because there were not enough Republican senators willing to support such a measure. If the repeal is successful, an estimated 13 million Americans will be without health insurance.
At a lunch meeting with a Republican conference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said “We’re optimistic that inserting individual mandate repeal would be helpful.”
Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, said that he was pleased that the Senate Finance Committee had accepted his proposal to repeal the individual mandate of Obamacare by legislating taxes.
“Repealing the mandate pays for more tax cuts for working families and protects them from being fined by the IRS for not being able to afford insurance that Obamacare made unaffordable in the first place. I urge the House to include the mandate repeal in their tax legislation,” said Cotton.
Republican Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said, “We’re going to repeal the tax on poor Americans.” He also stated that the majority of citizens who pay the mandated tax penalty for not carrying health insurance are in the lower income bracket.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Sen. John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, stated that 50 Republican senators are willing to support the mandate repeal contained in the tax reform bill. This is enough to pass the bill with Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote.
He also said that the agreed-upon is to pass the tax reform bill alongside the Alexander-Murray bill that would reinstate important federal reimbursement subsidies to Obamacare insurers that were cut off by President Trump last month.
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona told reporters that before he decides to support the bill containing the repeal of the Obamacare mandate, he must see the entire bill. Senator McCain had previously opposed bills seeking to repeal Obamacare and had helped defeat them.
The GOP tax reform bill, if passed, will also remove state and local tax deductions that are mostly used in states that have high income tax and are a Democratic majority.
If the bill passes, it is estimated that 13 million people will not have health insurance by the year 2027. The federal government would also cut Medicaid coverage for low income Americans in order to cut $340 billion dollars in subsidies allocated to citizens who purchase government marketplace individual health plans.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said Monday that it is “a mistake” to combine the tax bill with the repeal of the Obamacare mandate “because I think we’ll get no Democratic votes and I’d like this to be bipartisan.”