Repealing the mandate means millions more uninsured and higher premiums.
Senate Republicans want to take another stab at driving a stake into Obamacare in their tax overhaul.
The revised Senate tax bill will repeal the individual mandate, according to multiple reports. Repealing the mandate — which is the gear that makes the Affordable Care Act tick — would save more than $300 billion over 10 years, but only because millions fewer Americans would have health insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office. It also means higher premiums, because the younger, healthier people who have an incentive to buy insurance rather than pay the mandate would be expected to exit the market while the sicker people stay in.
But Senate Republicans are struggling to make their tax plan satisfy the byzantine rules governing the chamber’s “budget reconciliation” process. The savings from repealing the mandate would help a lot, and Republicans would finally, after their earlier failures, repeal the part of Obamacare they hate most.
“I believe we should use this opportunity to repeal the individual mandate and we should use the revenues … to lower rates for hardworking Americans across the board,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), one of the staunch conservatives who has been pressing to add it to the bill, told reporters recently.
That win comes at a cost: By repealing the mandate in their tax plan, Republicans will pay for $1 trillion in corporate tax cuts and individual tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit wealthy Americans by adding a provision that will lead to millions fewer people having health coverage.