Taxes

The Detroit News - - Front Page -

cut bill, which calls for steep re­duc­tions in the cor­po­rate tax rate and elim­i­na­tion of some pop­u­lar tax breaks.

“We are op­ti­mistic that in­sert­ing the in­di­vid­ual man­date re­peal would be help­ful; that’s ob­vi­ously the view of the Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee Repub­li­cans,” Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told re­porters.

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.

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.

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.

Feel­ing am­bushed with­out ad­vance no­tice, mi­nor­ity Democrats ex­ploded in anger.

The com­pleted House tax bill, pointed toward a vote in that cham­ber Thurs­day, does not cur­rently in­clude re­peal of the health in­sur­ance man­date. Trump plans an in-per­son ap­peal to House Repub­li­cans be­fore the vote.

To win over mod­er­ate Se­nate Repub­li­cans to the tax leg­is­la­tion, the Se­nate may take up at the same time a bi­par­ti­san com­pro­mise to shore up health care sub­si­dies, Sen. John Thune, RS.D., in­di­cated Tues­day. Thune is a mem­ber of the Fi­nance panel.

Out­side Congress, as word spread of the Se­nate Repub­li­cans’ in­ten­tion, ma­jor or­ga­ni­za­tions rep­re­sent­ing in­sur­ers, doc­tors and hos­pi­tals urged law­mak­ers to keep Oba­macare’s un­pop­u­lar re­quire­ment that most Amer­i­cans have health in­sur­ance — at least for now.

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.

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