Key chairman open to delaying repeal of ObamaCare mandate

Key chairman open to delaying repeal of ObamaCare mandate
© Greg Nash

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump struggles to get new IRS team in place Romney forced into GOP primary for Utah Senate nomination Romney won't commit yet to supporting Trump in 2020 MORE (R-Utah) on Wednesday said he is open to delaying the repeal of ObamaCare's individual mandate for having insurance.

Hatch told reporters he "wouldn't mind" postponing repeal until after 2020, or even indefinitely.

"I don't mind the individual mandate being expanded," Hatch told reporters Wednesday. "But it all comes down to budgetary concerns and how it's going to be written."

The individual mandate — a financial penalty on people who don't buy health insurance — is one of the most unpopular parts of ObamaCare. The House-passed American Health Care Act would repeal the mandate, effective immediately. 

Other senators also said they are open to delaying repeal of the mandate.  

"I think it's going to go away, but we're talking about a transition" to a new system, Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenLobbying World Worried GOP views Trump trade war with angst Conservatives fear trade war could cripple tax cuts message MORE (R-N.D.) said. "My sense is yes it will go away, but we're still figuring out how you make the transition." 

Senators are still waiting for the Congressional Budget Office's cost and coverage estimates of the House legislation, which are expected next week. Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHouse, Senate GOP compete for cash Overnight Tech: Alleged robocall kingpin testifies before Congress | What lawmakers learned | Push for new robocall rules | Facebook changes privacy settings ahead of new data law | Time Warner CEO defends AT&T merger at trial Senators grill alleged robocall kingpin MORE (R-S.D.) said the score of the House bill "will help a lot" as the Senate drafts its own version of the legislation, especially with regards to tax credits for buying insurance.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe risk of kicking higher ed reauthorization down the road Maternal deaths keep rising in US, raising scrutiny Supreme Court weighs future of online sales taxes MORE (R-Tenn.) said the Senate Budget Committee will begin writing the chamber's version "soon."