GOP tax bill includes repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate

Senate Republicans voted early Saturday to seriously wound Obamacare by eliminating the individual mandate as part of the tax bill.

Next up, lawmakers may actually strengthen the health reform law as part of a deal to woo Maine Senator Susan Collins, who helped defeat the Senate’s more comprehensive Obamacare repeal bill This specific summer.

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Collins will be pushing the stalled bipartisan Obamacare stabilization bill as a counterbalance to the repeal of the individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. She’s also advocating for a bill she co-authored with Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida in which aims to lower insurance premiums on the exchanges by helping insurers cover their costliest patients.

The moderate senator said Thursday these provisions will “most likely” be included inside the upcoming continuing resolution to temporarily fund the federal government. She noted Friday in which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “committed to support passage” of the bills before the end of the year.

Related: Here’s what’s inside the Senate tax bill

Since the Senate along with House still have to agree on a joint tax bill in conference committee, Collins has time to see whether the two Obamacare measures are passed inside the spending bill.

“So I’m going to know whether or not those provisions made the item along with in which matters hugely to me,” she said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Thursday, adding she’s primarily concerned about the increase in premiums in which could result through ending the mandate.

The elimination of the mandate could increase premiums by 10% along with could leave 13 million more people without coverage over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. however the item could also prompt healthy people to forgo coverage, leaving mostly sicker people in Obamacare policies. This specific, in turn, could make insurers flee the Affordable Care Act exchanges, which would certainly rock the individual market.

The stabilization bill, co-authored by Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander along with Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray, calls for funding Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction payments For 2 years. In October, President Trump ended federal support for these subsidies, which help lower-income enrollees pay for medical care. The elimination of This specific funding prompted insurers to raise premiums for 2018 since they must still provide the subsidies.

Meanwhile, Collins said Friday her bill would certainly appropriate $5 billion in 2018 along with in 2019 to help states create state-based reinsurance programs in which would certainly help insurers pay for high-cost patients. (The original Collins-Nelson bill introduced earlier This specific year would certainly have appropriated $2.25 billion each of those years.)

“The combination of those two bills would certainly more than than offset the premium increase in which would certainly be caused by [repealing the individual mandate],” Collins said at the breakfast.

Related: Obamacare enrollment could fall millions short for 2018

however the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office along with health policy experts don’t agree.

The CBO issued a report Wednesday in which said in which passing the Alexander-Murray bill will not substantially change the impact of repealing the mandate.

along with health policy experts have questioned whether Collins’ bill would certainly help reduce premiums long-term since the item only provides funding For 2 years.

An even bigger question will be whether either of these bills will actually become law. Conservative House Republicans said earlier This specific week in which they would certainly not support the Alexander-Murray bill, which they called a bailout for insurance companies.

sy88pgw (completely new York) First published December 1, 2017: 5:09 PM ET