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- President Donald Trump tweeted that the GOP tax bill should include a repeal of Obamacare’s penalty for not having insurance. This would likely lead to a destabilization of the individual insurance market, but also save the government money.
President Donald Trump offered a policy suggestion to congressional Republicans via Twitter on Wednesday, suggesting the forthcoming GOP tax bill should include a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
“Wouldn’t it be great to Repeal the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate in ObamaCare and use those savings for further Tax Cuts for the Middle Class.” Trump said. “The House and Senate should consider ASAP as the process of final approval moves along. Push Biggest Tax Cuts EVER.”
The individual mandate, which stipulates that people must have insurance or face a penalty from the IRS, is one of the most unpopular parts of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, but also one of its most critical.
Most experts agree that the mandate helps to encourage younger, healthy people to sign up for coverage which improves the risk mix in the Obamacare exchanges. This keeps costs down for sick people and helps improve market conditions for insurers.
Without the penalty, according to experts, the market conditions in the exchanges would likely deteriorate, costs would increase for sicker people, and insurers would flee from the market.
On Monday, GOP Sen. Tom Cotton floated the idea as a way to generate revenue for the tax plan.
According to a report from the Congressional Budget Office, a repeal of the mandate would decrease the federal deficit by $416 billion over 10 years. This would be mostly due to the decrease in what the federal government pays in subsides for people’s insurance premiums who get coverage on the Obamacare exchanges.
According to the CBO, 15 million more people would be without insurance under the plan compared to the current baseline. This means the government would not assist in paying their insurance premiums, offsetting the lost revenue from the mandate repeal and eventually saving the government money.
The tweets also come as the open enrollment period beings for Obamacare, during which people without coverage through an employer or a government program like Medicaid or Medicare can access health insurance.
Whether the tax bill will include a repeal of the mandate remains to be seen. The roll out of the bill was pushed back by House GOP tax writers from Wednesday to Thursday due to disagreement on some key elements of the plan.