House conservatives push for repeal of ObamaCare mandate in final tax bill

House conservatives push for repeal of ObamaCare mandate in final tax bill
© Greg Nash

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of conservative Republicans in the House, is pushing for tax reform to include a repeal of the individual insurance mandate. 

"Including language to repeal this harmful policy will return personal decisions about health care choices to patients, fulfilling a key promise we have made to the American people," the RSC wrote in a letter being circulated among members. 

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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.

In a letter to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse passes tariff-relief bill GOP may increase IRS’s budget Overnight Finance: Congress barrels toward another shutdown crisis | Canada worries Trump will withdraw from NAFTA | Blue-state Republicans push tax law changes | Chamber CEO calls out Bannon, Warren MORE (R-Texas) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKoch groups: Don't renew expired tax breaks in government funding bill Hatch tweets link to 'invisible' glasses after getting spotted removing pair that wasn't there DHS giving ‘active defense’ cyber tools to private sector, secretary says MORE (R-Utah), the RSC asks that the final package that emerges from a conference committee between the two houses contain a repeal of the mandate. 

"Obamacare’s coercive individual mandate represents perhaps the worst example of the federal government violating individual freedom and liberty — which is why we have repeatedly promised to repeal it," the letter, which has about 50 signatures, says. 

"Repeal of the individual mandate was included in the Senate-passed bill and had earned robust support in the House. We urge you to help fulfill our promise to the American people and include this language in a final conference package," the group wrote.

Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown House Republicans press for harder-line immigration bill Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks MORE (R-N.C.), chairman of the RSC, previously filed an amendment to the House tax bill to repeal the mandate. It had more than 60 co-sponsors. 

House leadership has been worried about including the mandate repeal in tax reform, thinking it could potentially doom the entire effort in the Senate. 

But the Senate passed its tax reform with the mandate repeal early Saturday morning. 

Brady is now suggesting the mandate repeal might be included in the final product. 

"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 Tuesday.

Repealing the mandate through tax reform has the strong support of President Trump, who is looking for a win on health care.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the individual mandate could result in 13 million fewer people insured and generate a savings of $338 billion for tax cuts.