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 HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals 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."

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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 HoevenBottom Line The Hill's Morning Report — Schiff: Clear evidence of a quid pro quo Trump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms 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 ThuneGOP senator says idea that Ukraine interfered in US election is 'not a conspiracy theory' No. 2 GOP leader eyes Wednesday of next week for possible votes on witnesses Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on 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 AlexanderDemocrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Schumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger' The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power MORE (R-Tenn.) said the Senate Budget Committee will begin writing the chamber's version "soon."