If Congress moves forward with repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate through tax reform, it would likely not lead to the coverage losses that some of the program’s supporters tout.
The Senate is currently proposing repealing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance or pay a penalty through its tax reform proposal, a proposal that has sparked a great deal of backlash from Democrats and Obamacare supporters.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted in early November that roughly 13 million Americans would go without health insurance by 2027 if Congress repealed the individual mandate. The nonpartisan office also expects the repeal to bring about $338 billion in federal savings over the next decade, which Republican senators are saying they will use to help give middle-class earners tax breaks.
Although the 13 million figure is the one on which many supporters and pundits are focusing, a fall 2017 Kasier Family Foundation survey estimates that only 7 percent of Obamacare customers would go without insurance if the government no longer enforced the mandate. Only 20 percent of enrollees said that the mandate was a major reason they chose to purchase health insurance.
The president backed the move to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate through tax reform last week.
The House bill differs from the Senate proposal in regards to the mandate repeal. House lawmakers passed a comprehensive tax reform package Thursday, which did not include a mandate repeal. If the Senate bill passes with a repeal included in the text, a final bill will have to be hammered out in conference between House and Senate lawmakers.
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that the provision is not a must have in the final bill that would make its way to Trump’s desk, and the administration would be willing to pass a bill without it.
The White House remains committed to finding a legislative solution for Obamacare, although it has recently taken to using executive action to chip away at the program’s framework.
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