comScore Individual Mandate Repeal Hidden in Tax Bill | The Mary Sue
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Republicans’ New Tax Plan: Sabotage America’s Healthcare to Give the Trump Family Tax Cuts

Republicans in the Senate are expected to update their very unpopular “tax reform” bill to sneak in a repeal of the individual mandate, a crucial part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Because they are hoping to use the Senate’s “budget reconciliation” process, which is immune to filibuster, they need to ensure that their bill does not increase the deficit over the next 10 years. Given the bill’s core goals – handouts for wealthy families tied to a massive cut in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% – this would normally be a struggle.

But sneakily, they’ve found two ways to do it:

  • Phase out all the bill’s tax cuts for middle-class and low-income families by 2026, while keeping the corporate tax cut permanent. This will also cause a budget crisis for 2027
  • Repeal the individual mandate, which requires Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine. This would save the government more than $300 billion, because 13 million fewer people will have insurance

This is a deviously clever approach. It delays the tax hike that most American families will face, and it attacks one of the most essential and least popular parts of the ACA. Unlike the popular protections for individuals with preexisting conditions or the laws which make it possible for children to stay on their parents’ insurance ’til they’re 26, the individual mandate is disliked by 63% of the country.

But its repeal will still result in 13 million Americans losing their healthcare, according to CBO estimates.

13 million.

It would also destabilize the country’s insurance markets, leading to premium spikes across the board and causing insurers to leave sicker or less profitable markets.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the Senate must take the lead on this evil idea, since the House doesn’t want to touch the individual mandate in their tax reform bill. (They’d rather attack American healthcare through cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.) However, he also said they’d be willing to pass a repeal of the individual mandate when the two houses reconcile their bills in conference committee – so he’s not going to stop it.

Wherever this proposal finds its support, the facts remain. As Vox summarizes, “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.”

Call your representatives—especially your senators.

(Via Vox, CNN, and CNBC; featured image via Shutterstock)

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