- Republican leaders said Tuesday the latest version of their bill to overhaul the tax system would repeal the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he estimates the repeal would save $338 billion that could be used to offset tax cuts elsewhere in the legislation, Politico reported.
- The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Taxation Committee earlier issued an analysis that concluded eliminating the individual mandate would result in 14 million people losing coverage by 2025 and premium increases of about 20%.
As anyone who has watched Congress debate ACA legislation this year knows, a proposed bill can change frequently during negotiations. The individual mandate repeal could still be tossed before a vote, but several Republicans are still looking for any way to deal a blow to the ACA.
The mandate is an essential part of the law, although it’s an unpopular one. Requiring most people to have insurance helps more young and healthy people to enter the risk pool. This helps payers offset the costs of covering people with pre-existing conditions. A repeal of the mandate would likely lead to more insurance companies choosing to pull out of the ACA exchanges.
Repealing the mandate would add to a string of actions weakening the law. President Donald Trump’s administration has taken a number of steps to undermine the ACA, including putting an end to cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers and paving the way for more catastrophic health plans. HHS has also drastically scaled back efforts to promote the open enrollment period.
For most insurers, the individual market is not central to their overall finances. Repeal of the individual mandate could make the risk of participating in the market not worth the small potential gain.— Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) November 15, 2017