Senate Republicans are trying to remove personal responsibility for getting health care by getting rid of the mandate to get insurance coverage to help finance deep tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The move by Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee does not increase coverage or pay for the tax cuts. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated repealing the requirement that people buy health coverage would mean 4 million additional uninsured people by 2019 and 13 million more by 2027.
The “Obamacare” mandate requires most people to buy health insurance coverage or face a fine. Without being forced to get coverage, fewer people would sign up for Medicaid or buy federally subsidized private insurance. Targeting the mandate in the tax legislation would save an estimated $338 billion over a decade, which could be used to help pay for the deep cuts.
It “will cause millions to lose their health care and millions more to lose their premiums,” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, angrily insisted when the panel reconvened to work on the tax bill and word came of the Republicans’ move on the mandate.
Outside Congress, as word spread of the Senate Republicans’ intention, major organizations representing insurers, doctors and hospitals urged lawmakers to keep Obamacare’s effective requirement that most Americans have health insurance. Ending the “individual mandate” would prompt healthy people to leave the insurance market in droves, driving up premiums, the groups argued in a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders.
On Monday, a nonpartisan analysis of the Senate bill showed it would increase taxes for some 13.8 million moderate-income American households.