White House Confirms It Wants Congress To Act On Obamacare

Robert Donachie | Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

An executive order to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate is not awaiting approval at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a source with first-hand knowledge told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Washington Examiner reported Monday morning that President Donald Trump’s administration is prepared to gut Obamacare by executive order if Republicans don’t make good on their promise to repeal the individual mandate in the tax reform bill they’re pushing through Congress. If Republicans fail to get rid of the mandate through tax reform, Trump is considering using the order to gut the health care program, according to the Examiner report.

There is no EO,” an OMB source with first-hand knowledge told TheDCNF in regards to the Examiner report. 

A White House spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation that administration does not comment on potential executive orders “until they are ready to be announced,” and did not confirm that there was an executive order at this time. The spokesmen told TheDCNF that the administration continues to focus on alternative ways to provide consumers relief from Obamacare, but wants Congress to act with a legislative solution.

The mandate is one of the least popular features of the Affordable Care Act and nearly every Republican push to repeal and replace Obamacare in 2017 included repealing the mandate. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday that GOP members are currently toying with the idea of repealing the individual mandate through their tax bill, but did not say where he stands on the issue.

If Trump does decide to repeal the individual mandate with the executive order, the administration would likely stop collecting penalties from people who choose to not purchase health insurance. Essentially, the order could make it such that Americans would not get penalized for making the choice to forego health coverage.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that repealing the individual mandate would leave 15 million fewer Americans without health insurance, a likely result of cutting one of the program’s main funding mechanisms. The CBO reported that the average penalty from enforcing the mandate amounts to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of income.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include the OMB’s comment.

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