An updated version of the Senate Republicans’ tax reform bill includes the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate. Several Republican senators announced the inclusion of the repeal provision in a modified bill on November 14, and tensions flared when Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Democrats expressed outrage that a modification reportedly involving the repeal of an ACA provision would be included.
Democrats argued that the scope of the markup was being expanded to healthcare. Democrats now look at the tax reform bill as a major health care bill, which is certain to rankle that side of the aisle and push bipartisanship to a new low. Republicans argue that modifications are keeping the bill focused on tax matters as the individual mandate was defined by the U.S. Supreme Court as a tax. Thus, they contend that the individual mandate is germane to the bill and markup at hand.
“Eighty percent of the folks who are paying the tax today live in a household [making] under $50,000. If we’re talking about doing the right thing for the middle class…here’s a good place to start cutting their taxes,” said Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). The Congressional Budget Office reported on November 8 that repealing the individual mandate would reduce coverage, but it would also reduce federal deficits by over $300 billion between 2018 and 2027.
The Senate Republicans’ tax reform proposal, including the repeal of the individual mandate, is expected to have the necessary votes to pass.
Click here to read more about the additional changes included in the modified version of the bill.
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