Healthcare thrown back into US tax debate
Repeal of individual mandate helps win fiscal hawk votes, could reopen can of worms for moderates
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate tax bill will repeal the individual mandate required under Obamacare, a move designed to pay for tax cuts and win over fiscal hawks.
The repeal could raise an estimated US$300 billion to US$400 billion over the next year, and several GOP lawmakers have expressed confidence that they have the 50 votes needed to pass the bill with this change, according to The Hill.
Senator John Kennedy stressed that the move would not push moderates to bail on the bill. “This is totally different from health care. Nobody was standing up saying, ‘If you do this, I’m not going to vote for the bill.’ There’s none of that. Everybody wants to get to yes,” he was quoted as saying.
Lawmakers have yet to debate the effects repealing the mandate would have, as the change has not yet been reflected in the bill. The updated bill is expected to be released later on Tuesday.
“Long story short, no one needs to be talking about the individual mandate at this point,” Republican Senator Orin Hatch said.
While the move complicates the debate with an area that the GOP failed to come to agreement on previously, no Republicans have come out yet to say it would be deal breaker for the tax bill.