Mitch McConnell: We’re Killing the Obamacare Tax

In boldest proposal yet for tax reform, Senate Republicans say they plan to end the individual mandate

by Jim Stinson | Updated 15 Nov 2017 at 6:07 AM

Senate Republicans will revoke the hated Obamacare tax known as the individual mandate, leaders said on Tuesday afternoon.

The tax penalty is levied on people who go through all or part of a year without health insurance.

The mandate is a key feature of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. Senate Republicans failed to repeal the ACA earlier this year.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) had proposed the addition of the repeal to the Senate's tax plan. It wasn't until after a luncheon with the Senate GOP conference that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was on board with the plan.

"I'm pleased the Senate Finance Committee has accepted my proposal to repeal the Obamacare individual mandate in the tax legislation," Cotton said, according to CNBC. "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."

The House has its own plan, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but it's likely the House Republican leadership will accept the direction, as Obamacare repeal passed the House earlier this year.

Republican critics said the individual mandate is a "tax on the poor."

The Congressional Budget Office says by 2027, a lack of mandate will cause 13 million people to go without insurance. But the CBO also admitted that repealing the mandate would save about $338 billion over 10 years.

The Senate GOP's proposal follows a Monday tweet from President Donald Trump as he returned from Asia, arguing for a mandate repeal.

"I am proud of the Rep. House and Senate for working so hard on cutting taxes and reform," Trump tweeted. "We're getting close! Now, how about ending the unfair & highly unpopular Indiv Mandate in OCare & reducing taxes even further? Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest going to middle income cuts?"

(photo credit, homepage image: Mitch McConnell, cut out, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore; photo credit, article image: Mitch McConnellCC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

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