Trump puts pressure on lawmakers to repeal ObamaCare mandate

Nov. 6, 2017

The GOP debate over how to repeal ObamaCare is poised to heat up once again.

Republicans are divided over including a provision to repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate as part of their sweeping tax reform bill, unveiled on Nov. 2.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said Nov. 3 that lawmakers are considering the move, which is being pushed by President Trump and others, but also expressed strong caution.

“There are pros and cons to this,” Brady said at an event Nov. 3 hosted by Politico. “Importing healthcare into a tax reform debate has consequences.”

Brady and others have voiced concerns that reopening the contentious ObamaCare debate could sing tax reform, a top GOP priority.

The Ways and Means Committee will begin its markup of the tax bill on Nov. 6, which will be a chance for lawmakers to offer amendments.

If a provision repealing the mandate is not offered in the House, though, it still could be added in the Senate.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has been leading the upper chamber’s charge to repeal the mandate in tax legislation.

The Congressional Budget Office has found that repealing the mandate would save $416 billion over 10 years, because fewer insured people would mean the government would pay out less in subsidies. That could help provide needed offsets for tax cuts.

But the flip side is that the CBO finds 15 million more people would be uninsured and premiums would rise 20%. The move could destabilize the health insurance market by removing an incentive for healthy people to enroll.

Separately, ObamaCare’s sign-up period continues in the upcoming week. Trump administration officials have been largely silent on the period, not doing the outreach that the Obama administration did.

The administration has cut back on advertising and outreach, though, which Democrats fear will depress enrollment.

On Capitol Hill, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing Nov. 8 on new ways of making Medicare payments known as alternative payments models, which were set in motion by the “doc fix” bill that Congress passed in 2015.

The Hill has the full story

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