Republican lawmakers will overturn a key piece of the Affordable Care Act in their tax overhaul, a victory in a long GOP campaign against the health law.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the compromise tax bill from House and Senate negotiators will end the health law’s requirement that all individuals buy insurance or pay a fine.
The bill will “repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate tax, delivering relief to low- and middle-income Americans who have struggled under an unpopular and unworkable law,” the Kentucky Republican said in an emailed statement.
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ObamaCare’s “Cadillac tax” has emerged as a sticking point in bipartisan negotiations over delaying certain health-care taxes before the end of the year.
Democrats are pushing to delay the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans, which is despised by unions, but Republicans are pushing back and have resisted including the Cadillac tax in the package, sources say.
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With Congress seemingly on the brink of repealing the Affordable Care Act’s centerpiece requirement that most people get insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats are warning such a move would be disastrous, and Republicans are anticipating a sweeping symbolic victory.
Senate Republicans included a measure to repeal the mandate in their recently passed tax overhaul; the House didn’t, leaving GOP leaders to hammer out a final agreement for the compromise bill they hope to pass by year’s end. President Donald Trump on Friday night threw his weight behind the push to strike the mandate, promising a crowd in Pensacola, Fla., that it would soon be gone.
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How many individuals would knowingly want to enroll in a form of health coverage with “persistently inferior” outcomes? A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology suggests that Medicaid provides those persistently inferior outcomes in the nation’s largest state of California, raising more questions about the program that represents the bulk of the coverage expansion under Obamacare. Overall, the study found “substantial and persistent disparities in survival for patients with either no or other public insurance compared with private insurance for all five cancer sites examined.”
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Congressional repeal of Obamacare’s individual insurance mandate penalty is not tantamount to pressing the button on the doomsday machine.
Critics of the Senate tax bill say repeal of the mandate penalty to buy Obamacare coverage will result in a spike in premiums, an increase in the numbers of the uninsured, and a “collapse” of the health insurance markets. In other words, the individual mandate is the “glue” that holds Obamacare together.
The assumption: Millions of Americans will buy Obamacare coverage—regardless of whether they want it or like it—because the government forces them to do it, and penalizes them if they do not.
Do we have compelling evidence that this is, in fact, the case? No.
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At the 2017 Forbes Healthcare Summit, I interviewed Seema Verma, Administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about her policy agenda. CMS is one of the most important agencies in the federal government, administering programs spending over a trillion dollars a year, including Obamacare.
Our discussion was wide-ranging. Verma spoke about fellow Indianan Alex Azar, President Trump’s nominee for the post of Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. She discussed her view of what CMS can do on drug pricing. She talked about the opioid crisis, and how to modernize the Medicare and Medicaid programs and empower patients to take charge of their own health care.
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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters Tuesday that he expects most House Republicans will support repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate in tax legislation, as GOP senators did.
“We’ll be asking our members where do they want us to be on that position. I suspect there will be strong support,” he said.
The House-passed tax bill did not include repeal of the individual mandate, while the Senate bill did. The two chambers now must reconcile their versions of tax-reform legislation in a bicameral conference.
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A top House Republican said Democrats need to make concessions that make them “wince” in order to get a vote on two Obamacare stabilization bills.
The comments from Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., Monday comes less than a week after the two bills looked headed for passage in the Senate after a deal to get Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to support tax reform. But while President Trump and Senate GOP leadership gave support for the bills, such a commitment in the House has been lacking.
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Congress may have moved on from health care. The public has not.
With taxes and spending, debt and defense piled up on Congress’ extremely full plate this month, a new poll by POLITICO and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that Americans remain sharply focused on health care — but Republicans and Democrats aren’t looking at the same things.
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Senate Democrats who fret over the distributional effects of tax cuts should thank their GOP colleagues for giving them the chance this week to vote on repealing one of the most regressive taxes: the Obamacare tax on the uninsured.
This tax disproportionately falls on those with incomes less than $50,000, while exempting many households earning six-figure salaries. Many who qualify for subsidies will have to choose between paying the tax and buying policies that offer shabby coverage with onerous deductibles that could stick them with big medical bills.
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