GOP senators unveil bill loosening ObamaCare individual mandate

GOP senators unveil bill loosening ObamaCare individual mandate
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A group of Republican senators on Wednesday introduced a bill to exempt people from ObamaCare’s individual mandate if they live in a county with one or no options for coverage. 

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The lawmakers, led by Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDemocrats hammer Trump for entertaining false birther theory about Harris Trump rips Bill Maher as 'exhausted, gaunt and weak' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence MORE (R-Ariz.), argue that it is wrong for people to face ObamaCare’s financial penalty for lacking insurance if there is only one insurer offering coverage in their area, or none at all. 

McCain is facing a reelection race this year and has put a focus on criticizing ObamaCare in his campaign. Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGraham says FBI chief 'committed to being helpful' after Trump criticism Trump hits FBI Director Wray: 'I wish he was more forthcoming' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance MORE (R-Wis.), who is facing an even tighter race this year, is a cosponsor of the bill. 

“This legislation would ensure that Arizonans are not forced to pay a penalty due to the failure of a healthcare system that was fatally flawed from conception,” McCain said in a statement. 

Arizona is at the forefront of the issue because Pinal County in the state is currently slated to have no insurers offering ObamaCare coverage at all next year, which would be the first time that situation has happened. 

The shrinking number of options on the ObamaCare marketplaces has been an area of rising prominence given the high-profile exits by some major insurers for 2017. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 31 percent of counties will have just one ObamaCare insurer in 2017, up from 7 percent this year. 

These counties are concentrated in rural areas, and the analysis estimates that 62 percent of enrollees will still have the choice of three or more insurers, though that is down from 85 percent this year. 

“Under Obamacare, Wisconsinites can be penalized for not buying a company’s product, even when there is only one company selling it,” Johnson said in a statement. “This legislation would help ensure that Wisconsin families won't have to pay a penalty to help cover the cost of Obamacare’s failed promise of consumer choice.”

The other Republicans sponsoring the bill are Sens. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonRussian news agency pushed video of Portland protestors burning a Bible: report Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump China sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong MORE (Ark.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (Ariz.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report Latest Trump proposal on endangered species could limit future habitat, critics say MORE (Wyo.).