The Senate tax bill released last week follows the same framework proposed by the U.S. House and the Trump Administration: delivering large tax cuts to the richest Americans while paving the way for cuts to schools, health care and the infrastructure that helps communities thrive.
Now, in what is perhaps the most disturbing recent development, Senate leaders have added a more explicit attack on the health care of at least 13 million Americans by placing a proposed repeal the individual mandate in the tax bill.
This is from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities:
“The savings from eliminating the mandate would come entirely from reducing health coverage. For example, the federal government would spend less on premium tax credits because fewer people would sign up for marketplace coverage, less on Medicaid because fewer people would enroll, and less on the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance because fewer employees would enroll in job-based coverage.
These savings are what let Senate leaders make their full corporate rate cut permanent. Without repeal of the individual mandate, the long-term costs of the corporate rate cut ($171 billion in 2027 alone) would have exceeded the savings from the bill’s offsetting revenue raisers, even after Senate Republicans modified their bill to have its individual income tax cuts expire after 2025. This math problem seems to have been a key part of the motivation for adding individual mandate repeal to the bill. With savings of $53 billion in 2027, the provision pays for making about one-third (about 4.7 percentage points) of the corporate rate cut permanent. Other provisions in the bill would cover the rest of the cost.”
Late yesterday, the national AARP issued the following statement:
“The amendment to repeal the individual health coverage requirement will leave millions of Americans uninsured, destabilize the health insurance market, and lead to spikes in the cost of premiums.
The Congressional Budget Office recently confirmed that repealing the individual health coverage requirement would lead to 13 million Americans losing their health coverage, including 2 million Americans who would lose employer-sponsored coverage.
AARP urges Congress to reject this amendment, which also undermines the bipartisan health bill offered last month by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) that is intended to reduce premium spikes and stabilize the individual health insurance market.”
This is a developing story — stay tuned for updates.