The Senate GOP tax bill will retain a key deduction for qualified medical expenses that was excluded from the House version, according to a Republican senator on the Senate Finance Committee.
Republicans in Congress are plowing ahead on tax reform, and one obstacle is the complexity of Senate budget rules that limit how much taxes can be cut. The good news is that for once Washington’s fiscal fictions could be deployed to improve policy by repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate as part of tax reform.
The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday released the details of its tax proposal, which includes a permanent 20% corporate rate and more. Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Corker cut a budget deal to allow for $1.5 trillion in net tax cuts over 10 years without accounting for faster economic growth (and more revenues) as a result of reform.
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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, isn’t giving up on including a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate in the GOP’s tax reform bill.
Brady told radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday that he is still considering including mandate repeal in the tax bill, which was being marked up by his committee on Tuesday. Brady said he is expecting an updated score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on the impact of including repeal.
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Conservatives are attempting to revive efforts to gut Obamacare’s individual mandate as part of the Republican overhaul of the tax code.
But the House’s top tax writer, while leaving the door open to a measure President Donald Trump supports, said Friday that such a move would complicate the tax package’s prospects, particularly in the Senate.
“The president feels very strongly about including this at some step before the final process,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said of mandate repeal during a POLITICO Playbook interview. “No decisions have been made.”
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Republicans are looking under every seat cushion to finance tax cuts and the political bribes that Members of Congress are demanding for their votes. One surprising potential “pay for,” believe it or not, would be repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate.
The IRS administers the mandate, which ObamaCare euphemistically dubbed an “individual responsibility payment.” But Chief Justice John Roberts called it a tax to declare it constitutional, so a policy and fiscal nexus exists.
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When the GOP released their “Framework” for tax reform last month, official Washington got excited that they could finally chew on all sorts of wonky tax details. They will get even more excited when the full package is out this week. That’s why it was very disappointing to read that Senate Finance Committee Republicans were considering keeping the death tax in place.
That would be a grievous error.
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Democrats claim to have a monopoly on caring for the poor and suffering, and this week the left is portraying a GOP health-care bill as an attack on society’s vulnerable. So check out the data on how ObamaCare is a tax on some low-income families.
IRS data offers insight into who paid the law’s individual mandate penalty in 2015 for not buying health insurance, the latest year for which figures are available. Spoiler alert: The payers aren’t Warren Buffett or any of the other wealthy folks Democrats say they want to tax. More than one in three of taxed households earned less than $25,000, which is roughly the federal poverty line for a family of four.
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On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a single-payer health care bill that would create a national health insurance program, charting a stem-to-stern reshaping of the country’s health care system. The bill would make it so that Americans would get health coverage simply by showing a new government-issued card and would no longer owe out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles. But Sanders’ description of his measure omitted specifics about how much it would cost and final decisions about how he would pay for it.
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Single-payer is back on the docket in California. Late last month, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announcedthat he’d formed a special committee “to develop plans for achieving universal health care in California.”
Rendon has been under pressure from progressive activists all summer, ever since he shelved SB 562, a bill passed by the state Senate on June 1 that would put all the state’s residents into a new, state-run single-payer healthcare system. At the time, he deemed it “woefully incomplete.” SB 562 did not specify how, exactly, the state would pay for single-payer.
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The Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress are pledging to turn their attention toward tax reform after their failure to pass a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. But Republicans can still improve health care and lower costs if they change the treatment of employer-sponsored health insurance plans in tax reform.
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